Herpes gladiatorum is a type of skin infection caused by herpes virus.It is highly infectious in nature. Discover what herpes gladiatorum is, its causes, treatments, home remedies in this article.

What Is Herpes?

Herpes is a type of virus known to affect human skin. It is of two kinds :

1) Herpes simplex virus 1(HSV 1) or Human herpesvirus 1(HHV 1)

2) Herpes simplex virus 2(HSV 2) or Human herpesvirus 2(HHV 2)

HSV 1 causes cold sores whereas HSV 2 is a significant primary cause of genital herpes. Both these viruses are contagious. They are omnipresent and thus ubiquitous too.

What Are The Different Types And Variations of Herpes?

In more simpler terms, herpes simplex 1 type of virus is more commonly known as the one causing cold sore whereas herpes simplex two is known to the common masses as genital herpes or herpes.

The herpes type known as Herpes simplex 1 has been statistically proved to affect about 95% of the human populace. It is clinically proven that herpes simplex 1 is less seriously treated than herpes simplex 2. However, both of these viruses are considered to be incurable.

When Was Herpes Gladiatorum First Detected?

As there is a past to every living entity surviving on the Earth, herpes virus also has it. Let us have a briefing on first occurrence and detection of the Herpes condition. This knowledge will further help us in understanding the various parameters related to it with more accuracy. There are records stating that this clinical condition was described more than around sixty to seventy years ago.

A medical journal presented a case study regarding herpes gladiatorum. There was a thorough research done on the same. The results of the analysis stated that the main culprit behind this infection was herpes.

Later, it was detected that there are two types of herpes virus flavors. One that is the leading cause of oral herpes or the cause of cold sores. The other variant is called as herpes simplex type 2.

This is mainly responsible for the appearance of herpes affecting the human genital parts. It was then proved that both these types of herpes virus flavors could participate in creating the appearance of herpes gladiatorum.

Is Herpes Gladiatorum An STD?

It is a common misbelief that Herpes gladiatorum is a type of a sexually transmitted disease. It is very vital and important to correct this misbelief. Herpes gladiatorum does not fall in the category of STD’s.

There are many people who consider that this clinical condition is a result of or is transmitted only through sexual contact. However, this is not true. It is a fact that the disease is majorly spread via physical or skin to skin contact between individuals.This is the main mode of the transmission of the Herpes Gladiatorum virus.

What Are The chances and Frequency Of Catching Herpes Gladiatorum?

This is a type of disease that spreads through touch and forms a part of the list of contagious diseases. As it is caught via physical touch, herpes gladiatorum is seen to a commonly occurring disease in the sports community.

It is more frequently observed in players who play sports wherein a lot of physical contact takes place. These games come under the category of contact events. Examples of these include wrestling, boxing, rugby, etc.

Due to its high association with sports-related activities, herpes gladiatorum has received other names as well. These are herpes rugbiorum, mat pox or herpes of the wrestlers

The study shows that on an average, individuals who are diagnosed with herpes gladiatorum can experience them between one and ten outbreaks each year.

However, there is evidence suggesting that other factors are also responsible for triggering the outbreak herpes gladiatorum. These factors include anxiety, excessive stress, depression, weak immune system, exposure to other viruses and bacteria, etc.

Some individuals get the infection and are infected due to the strains of the herpetic virus. However, these individuals do not show any signs or symptoms of herpes gladiatorum

But these infected individuals can transmit the virus to others via physical contact. Thus, they can be considered as the carriers of the disease. The process of spreading the virus is clinically termed as asymptomatic shedding.

Thus, the virus is present on the body of such individuals, but they do not show any signs of the disease. The major symptoms of the disease are liquid-filled blisters on the skin along with rashes and redness. Thus, these individuals can be called as the hidden carriers of herpes gladiatorum.

Is Herpes Gladiatorum Contagious?

Herpes gladiatorum is considered to be a highly contagious condition. As stated above it is most often transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact. The blisters which are an after effect of catching the disease contain small viral particles.

Upon forceful contact, these blisters break, and the virus is transmitted to the skin of the other person. It is also important to remember that a person remains contagious even after the lesions on the skin have healed.

During a herpetic gladiatorum outbreak, the level of contagiousness is increased to its peak. It is highly necessary to be safe and protect yourself at such times.

Symptoms Of Herpes Gladiatorum

These are the most common and frequently observed symptoms that are found in patients diagnosed with herpes gladiatorum are as follows:

  • Rash on the skin
  • Redness of the skin
  • Clusters containing lesions
  • Lesions can then form into blisters over time. Blisters are more painful and contain the virus substituents in them. Most common areas of blister and lesion formation include a face, abdomen, inferior limbs, thorax, neck, etc.
  • Blisters might contain pus.
  • Blisters that burst might ooze out blood. This can act as a mechanism for transmission of infections.
  • Systemic symptoms can also be seen in certain individuals:
    1. Swelling of the lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy appears as the body tries to fight the infection)
    2. Fever (moderate to high-running)
    3. Sore throat
    4. Nausea or vomiting
    5. Headaches
  • Some patients might suffer from body ache
  • Depending on the severity of the infection weakness might be present.

The above-stated symptoms are more severe and intense at the first occurrence of herpes viral infection. The intensity of the infection varies from individual to individual. The time required to cure the infection varies too.

Most individuals suffer from recurrent herpetic infection. In such a case, the blisters and lesions of the infection cure at a faster rate. Scabs are formed over the affected area which goes away in a week.

However, it is clinically stated that the infection causing virus is still prevalent in the body of the patient for five to six weeks even if the skin shows no signs of the symptoms. In most of the cases, the skin heals in approximately 5-6 days after taking proper medication.

Causes Of Herpes Gladiatorum

a. The primary reason of catching herpes gladiatorum is getting an infection through skin contact.

b. It might also be caused due to unhygienic surroundings.

c. Being in the company of people suffering from herpes gladiatorum might lead to the spread of the infection.

How Is Herpes Gladiatorum Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of herpes gladiatorum is usually based upon appearance, physical examination, and clinical grounds. It is advised that if herpes or another infectious skin lesion is suspected, the patients must immediately consult an expert or a dermatologist.

Medical tests are done to find the occurrence of the Herpes virus. An HSV infection can cause small, painful sores. These are often in the form of blisters and lesions.

They are found to affect the skin and the tissue linings. The organs that show the presence of these blisters are mucous membranes of mouth, nose, throat, penis, vagina, rectum, urethra, etc

Tests for HSV are mostly done for the sores found in the genital region. Checks can also be carried out for other samples. These samples might include blood, urine, spinal fluid, tears, etc. Following are the criteria conducted for herpes gladiatorum:

i. Herpes viral culture. This is a test to find the presence of the herpes virus. A fresh culture is formed from the fluid of the sore. This culture is further processed to find the occurrence of the herpes virus.

ii. Herpes virus antigen detection test. In this test contents from a fresh sore are scraped off. These are then smeared onto a microscope slide. This test finds markers, often called as antigens. These antigens are present on the surface of the body cells infected with herpes.

iii. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. A PCR test can be done on cells or fluid from a sore or on blood or other fluid, such as spinal fluid.

How To Treat Herpes Gladiatorum?

The infection that is caused by the herpes simplex virus is mainly treated with antiviral medicines. The most often and frequently used medication therapy for treating herpes gladiatorum are as follows:

  • Acyclovir
  • Famciclovir
  • Valacyclovir

The patient is advised to orally consume the medication. This provides the best results as well as fast outcomes. These medicines are also known to reduce chances of the patient transmitting the infection to others.

These medicines also play a vital role in working as antigens and prevent further occurrence of the herpes gladiatorum infection.

What Are The Severe Complications From Herpes Gladiatorum?

It is clinically proved that herpes gladiatorum infections can occur again and again. The herpes virus tends to enter the human body nerves and persist there. The hidden virus can take out its head at any time later and cause another infection.

Recurrent infections are less severe and don’t last as long. However, a recurring disease is just as contagious as the original infection, so the same steps need to be taken to prevent infecting others.

How Can Herpes Gladiatorum Infection Be Prevented?

  • Personal hygiene for athletes is essential.
  • Always use your bottle and containers of liquid soap.
  • Shower immediately after playing or sweating.
  •  Use your towel and soap.
  • Do not lend your personal belongings to others.
  • Wash your towel after each use, using hot water and detergent.
  • Use completely sun dried towel and clothes
  • Clean towels should always be used.
  • Good hygiene is essential to preventing infection with herpes gladiatorum.
  • Hands should often be cleaned!
  • At least 15 seconds hand washing should be done using soap and warm water.
  • An alcohol-based hand scrub can be used instead of soap.
  • Make use of sanitizers and disinfectants
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth and other parts with your hands.
  • Clean your hands, legs and face thoroughly before and after practice and competitions.
  • Never pick or squeeze skin sores.
  • Always report any skin lesions or sores to your dermatologist immediately.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting the environment is also necessary to prevent herpes gladiatorum.

Home Remedies To Treat Herpes Gladiatorum

 1. Cold Compress

A cold compress is one of the most effective home treatments for herpes. It pulls away from the heat from the sores and provides calmness.

2. Epsom Salt Bath

Epsom salt mixed with lukewarm water helps in cleaning up the sores and gives a cooling effect.

3. Lemon

Lemon juice is proved to be having positive results in treating herpes.

4. Aloe Vera Juice

It reduces the swelling, itching and helps in cooling the sores and blisters.

5. Baking Soda

This is an old home remedy used to treat cold sores and blisters.

6. Natural Oils

There are quite a few natural oils that will help in treating a lot of skin diseases.Applying olive, tea tree, jojoba, Vitamin E or rosemary oil helps in curing herpes.

7. Black Coffee

Drinking cold black coffee on mouth sores is a good home remedy to reduce mouth herpes.

8. Wear Breathable Clothing

It is highly recommended to wear loose and soft clothes during the outbreak or in times of herpes infection.

9. Managing Stress

Stress is a primary cause of almost all illnesses. Stressful life increases the chances of herpes. It is better to avoid stress.

10. Honey

Honey is a natural home remedy used for the treatment of all types of skin infections. It is known to play a role in curing herpes as well.

 11. Herbal Tea

Consuming any flavor of herbal tea twice a day works wonders for healing herpes.It will help in quickly getting rid of herpes. Ginger, lemon, cinnamon or black tea can help in curing herpes.

The above-stated points should be thoroughly noticed and taken care of to avoid infections like herpes gladiatorum.

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