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Difference Between Folliculitis and Herpes

It is alarming to see abnormal growths on the skin, such as papules, blisters, warts, lesions and rashes, especially if the etiology is unknown. Paranoia sets in if these abnormal growths are found on the face particularly the oral cavity and/or on the private parts of the body – the genitals and the anal area. Moreover, if you or someone you know is not practicing safe sex, extreme paranoia really sets in. Do you think you have Herpes?  Don’t fret, it may just be Folliculitis.

Herpes and Folliculitis are commonly interchanged. They are confused form each other because they manifest somewhat the same signs and symptoms but they are completely different. For clarity sake, here are the definitions and discussions of these diseases and how you can differentiate it from one another.

HERPES

Herpes is a common STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) affecting adolescent and adult men and women. It is caused by a virus known as HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus). Most people do not show signs and symptoms of the disease. The incidence is higher among women than men and can be transmitted by direct contact with sores or even between outbreaks known as OBs or “shedding” from the skin of an infected person even without a visible sores on it.

Most often than not, the transmission of the disease usually occurs from an infected person who does not have visible sore or not even aware that he or she got the virus. Sometimes an individual does not even know of the infection after years it was acquired because it is a silent disease that causes hardly recognizable symptoms.

The Two Types of Herpes

  • HSV-1 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1)
    HSV-1 causes oral herpes, which eats away the lips, causing cold sores or fever blisters. The outbreak of these sores begins with a mild tingling and redness of the skin that develop into small blisters that contain fluid.

  • HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2)
    HSV-2 is the main cause of genital herpes that infects the reproductive organs and sometimes causes oral herpes. The blisters that develop are small that either occurs individually or in clusters. The top usually come off leaving highly contagious open wet sores.

A person who comes in contact with virus for the first time will develop signs and symptoms within 2-10 days. Herpes is usually mistaken form other diseases so it is salient to seek for professional advice and be tested immediately. Early manifestations mimic those of the flu like symptoms as the body’s immune system fights the virus. The following are the early symptoms of Herpes:

  • Febrile episodes

  • Inflammation of the lymph nodes near the site of impending outbreak

  • Stomach discomfort

  • Unusual discharge from the genitals accompanied with burning and itching sensation

  • Pain on the area below the belly button and above the genital area

  • Pain on the private area –  the genital and anal

FOLLICULITIS

Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair producing follicles on the skin. This skin disease has four categories:

  • Bacterial Folliculitis
    This is caused by Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas or Coliform Bactria that infects the hair follicles. This bacteria cause Superficial Folliculitis also known as Impetigo. These manifest pustules that can go deeper into the skin causing pain and pus that eventually cause scarring.

  • Fungal Folliculitis
    Folliculitis caused by fungus that are either superficial or can go deep and infect the blood and other internal organs. The common types are Candida Folliculitis, Dermatophytic Folliculitis and Pityrosporum Folliculitis. When the fungus penetrates the skin it can causes deep pain, febrile episodes and permanent hair loss.

  • Parasitic Folliculitis
    Folliculitis caused by parasites that burrow their way into the hair follicle to thrive and lay eggs. The common parasites that caused this are Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis.

  • Viral Folliculitis
    This is a rare infection of the hair follicle that is caused by a virus such as the herpes zoster and the herpes virus.

HERPES vs. FOLLICULITIS

Characteristics

Herpes

Folliculitis

Appearance

Small blisters that contain fluid that occur individually or by clusters.

Pimple like, pustules or papules in various sizes near a hair follicle. The pustules contains pus and causes loss of hair shafts

Location

Oral and genital area

Occurs anywhere on the skin

Scarring

Blisters don’t usually leave scars

Pustules or papules that leave scars

Pain

Herpes blisters are painful.

Folliculitis papules tends to be itchy rather that painful.

Contain

Clear or yellowish liquid

Pus

Communicability

Highly contagious especially when there is a direct contact with the open blisters.

Most cases of folliculitis are not contagious but there are some cases that folliculitis caused by bacteria and virus can be transmitted through direct contact.

 


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References :


[0]http://www.medhelp.org/posts/STDs/Is-this-herpes-or-folliculitis/show/1045880

[1]https://www.healthtap.com/topics/how-to-tell-the-difference-between-herpes-and-folliculitis

[2]http://www.healthline.com/health/folliculitis#Symptoms2

[3]https://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/e---h/herpes-simplex

[4]http://bs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herpes

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