Get Rid of Hair Bumps!

Hair Bumps Gone Viral – Folliculitis and the Herpes Type-1 Virus

Like a cold sore isn’t already enough fun…

Cold sores can be the source of a whole new batch of hair bumps.

Cold sore
Image via Wikipedia

Use care when shaving near a cold sore blister. If shaving causes it to break open, the stuff inside it can spread to other parts of our skin. Often times, cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. If what’s inside the cold sore makes its way to our hair follicles, we now have what’s called “herpetic folliculitis.” In other words, the herpes virus has infected our hair follicles, and the follicles have become irritated and inflamed.

How did you get the cold sore in the first place?

Cold sores are generally caused by the Herpes Simplex Type-1 Virus. The HSV-1 virus is in the same family as the virus that causes genital herpes, but it’s not the same thing. Genital herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Type-2 Virus (or  HSV-2). In a way, the viruses that cause cold sores and herpes are like two kids in the same family–related, but different.

The HSV-1 or “cold sore virus” can be spread kissing, or even just by coming in close contact with someone who has a cold sore. When it comes to an active cold sore, it’s a lot less contagious once it dries up and becomes crusted over. It usually takes a few days for the cold sore to move out of the active phase, and to get to the dry, crusty phase. But even if someone who carries the cold sore virus has normal-looking skin, there’s still a chance they can pass the virus on to you. Infected saliva can also be a way the cold sore virus gets passed to other people.

Once you have herpes virus in your system, it’s pretty much there to stay. You may have no signs and symptoms of it at all. But you may have noticed a few things that tend to trigger cold sores. For example, cold sores tend to appear:

* when you’re already sick (especially if you have the cold virus)

* if you’re feeling really stressed out

* during hormonal changes; including during a woman’s period

Folliculitis caused by HSV-1 is usually self-limiting, meaning that most times, it goes away by itself. But if you have a weakened immune system or are taking drugs that keep your immune system from working as well as it should, you might need a medication to help it clear up.

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