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Date of last update: 10/18/2017.

Forum Name: Dermatology Topics

Question: is this cold sore or just a skin allergy?

 ekilisa - Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:05 am

personal details
female, 20 years-old, student

chief complain
swollen spots around lips-10 days

history of presenting complain
over the past 6 months, twice, i have some swollen itchy spots on my upper lips, it's acute onset, last for 3-4 days. I did not go to the doctor, my mom says that it might just be because of me never wash my mouth properly after meals. I just put on a lot of lipbalm to ease the itchyness.

10 days ago, after i have my dinner(crab, but i'm not allergic to it), the itchyness started again, this time at the border of my upper lips, the normal skin part, then the 3rd day another spot started at the angle of my mouth, right side. the lesion is swollen and a bit of skin flaking. I asked my uncle who's a doctor, he said that it's cold sore and prescribed me with anti-inflammatory, some anti-itchyness drug and a topical acyclovir cream for the lesion, i've been using it for 6 days but it did not help. The itchyness is gone but there are still red spot w flaking skin on my lips.

past medical history
was admitted into hospital cause of dengue in year 2001
was asthmatic when i was very young(8-9 years-old)
not allergic to anything(never has any allergic reaction)

family history
both my parents presented with cold sores since 6 months ago, recurrent once in 1 or 2 months.

social history
not sexually active(also not kissing anybody)
non smoker
non drug user

I have done some research, cold sores usually presents with fluid filled vesicles on the lips, the images that i saw online is nothing like mine, mine are just red spot with flaky skins, started out like a mosquito bite. I need a second opinion, see if the diagnosis is HSV-1 infection, i'll try to do a test, but i'm not sure whether this test is available here in my country, it's not very common to so this kind of test. I'm very worried that i might in future infect other people by accident...
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:24 pm

Hello, ekilisa,

You've certainly done your homework! And you've tried the antiviral cream, with anit-inflammatory and anti-itching medications. Since they didn't work, your next step is to see a Dermatologist if possible, or your regular doctor if not. It would be helpful if you recap the development of these lesions and attach approximate dates, if you can, and give it to your doctor. If it's not clear what the lesions are, your doctor may elect to biopsy them. In the meantime, be scrupulous about handwashing to minimize the possibility of transmitting the condition to others, and don't share straws or cigarettes. I appreciate your concern for those around you, but it would be good to determine the cause so that you don't have to suffer the symptoms. I don't think that washing your mouth after meals would sufficiently address your issue.

Good luck to you!

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