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What is Nasal Herpes?

Deanna Baranyi
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Nasal herpes are blisters and sores in and around the nose that are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). They are also commonly found in and around the mouth, genitals, and buttocks; however, they can appear nearly everywhere on the body. The sores can be both uncomfortable and unattractive and can occur frequently in some individuals. Although nasal herpes are not fatal, for people with chronic illnesses and babies, a serious infection can be alarming.

Fever blisters, cold sores, and herpes simplex virus type 1 are all interchangeable names for nasal herpes. They are usually blisters that are filled with clear liquid. Unfortunately, nasal herpes can also lead to deeper wounds in the nasal area, particularly if they become infected.

There are two types of nasal herpes infections – primary infections and recurrent infections. Although the majority of individuals become infected when they are exposed to the herpes virus, only about ten percent will develop an actual sore. For a primary infection, the sores first appear two to 20 days after the individual has contacts the infected person. In addition, the primary infection sores will last anywhere from a week to ten days. Once the primary infection sores heal, there is not likely to be a scar; but, the virus never leaves the body.

Recurrent infections are usually not as severe as the primary infection. A recurrence may happen in the exact same place or in a nearby location. Unfortunately, the recurrent infections can occur every couple weeks or they may be months apart. Usually, recurrent infections are set off by other factors, such as sun, stress, fever, or trauma; or they may occur for no reason at all.

Nasal herpes are usually received from close contact with other people. They are easy to catch and easy to spread. They can be transmitted from sharing a bath towel, face cloth, or even eating after other people. Many people get their first bout of nasal herpes when they are children and then suffer from recurrent infections for years to come. They can be treated with anti-viral drugs and there are a variety of over-the-counter medicines that can help ease the symptoms.

For more information on nasal herpes, consult a dermatologist. He or she will be able to indicate whether the sores in the nose are actually the result of herpes simplex type 1 or if the individual is suffering from a different problem. There are several other diseases and medical conditions that mimic nasal herpes, so a medical opinion is always the safer than any self-diagnosis.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Deanna Baranyi
By Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her work. With degrees in relevant fields and a keen ability to understand and connect with target audiences, she crafts compelling copy, articles, and content that inform and engage readers.
Discussion Comments
By anon985977 — On Jan 21, 2015

I just wanted to let everyone know that I found the most effective cure for Nasal Herpes - Arm&Hammer Advanced White Toothpaste. Apply it when you start feeling the itch and the first blisters show up. It is deadly, kills it in one day and prevent it from further developing. I found this remedy because I needed a prescription for the medication and toothpaste was the only thing I had available.

By anon969224 — On Sep 08, 2014

I recently got a bout of this in my left nostril. It comes back now every 30-60 days and it is miserable. I am already on 800mg of acyclovir already, but it's not helping any more up here.

By anon114520 — On Sep 29, 2010

Baileybear, do your research. If I remember correctly, about 90 percent of us will have HSV1 (oral/nasal herpes) by the time we reach our 50s. You can get it form a kiss on the cheek from your Grandma, so get over it.

By ChickenLover — On Sep 19, 2010

I have never heard of nasal herpes up until now. This article was very insightful when it comes to the nasal herpes simplex and I think a lot more people should be aware of how you can contract the disease.

By plaid — On Sep 19, 2010

@baileybear - Herpes legions in the mouth come and go just like any other type of herpes. The herpes disease is very tricky and deceiving, so if you think you might have it - anywhere - it's wise to just go ahead and get tested.

You should also watch out for lichen planus of the mouth, which might seem gross, but it really not that invasive to have. Lichen planus can also be on the skin as well.

By baileybear — On Sep 19, 2010

Cold sores inside your mouth are also another type of herpes and a lot of people have this. The worst part is that even though there are oral herpes treatments, many people don't utilize the medication. Worse still, many people don't even know they have it and spread it through just the simple act of kissing.

Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her...
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