I’ve heard of viral marketing, but it came in as a surprise to know of skin infections being viral in origin too. Viruses attack and compromise the skin- we need to have our battle plans ready against them. These infections range from being common to rare and can go from being mild to severe. Here are three viral skin infections that you should ideally keep your eyes open to:
Cold Sores: We’ve all suffered from cold sores some time or the other. Cold sores are caused by the Herpes simplex virus type 1. The virus resides in its latent form within the sensory nerves of the skin. When active this virus spreads down through the nerves and emerges out on to the skin or the mucus membranes. It multiplies in these regions and causes a clinical lesion, your cold sore. Once the active attack is over the virus travels up the nerve fiber and goes back to being dormant. In its active form it is very contagious leading to a crop of peri-oral cold sores. Normally no treatment is required, but if needed, antivirals are quite effective. In mild cases topical ointments work well.
Warts: Warts are localized skin infections caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Warts are common during childhood and spread because of auto inoculation and direct contact. Mostly, warts are at their infectious best when they are wet or when they bleed because of scratching or other trauma. With treatment warts usually disappear within a period of six to eight months. Though warts are more persistent in adults, they eventually disappear. You might want to opt for Cryotherapy for cosmetic reasons but you could get blistering, infection, pain and sometimes depigmentation with this treatment.
Molluscum contagiosum: This viral skin infection is quite common and affects mostly children but adults can fall prey to it too. This viral skin infection presents itself as small round clusters of bumps or papules. They develop mostly in warm and moist areas such as the armpits, back, groin and behind the knees and can be white, pink and even brown in color. They have a waxy look with a central pit. They become inflamed, crusty or scabby as they resolve. This virus normally spreads because of direct skin contact. It can be treated with hydrocortisone cream or with wart paints that contain salicylic acid or podophyllin.
Viral skin infections mostly affect people who have a weak immune system especially a weak T-cell system. Head to your physician if you cannot figure out your skin infection and get the right medical attention.