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Old 10-24-2006, 06:58 AM   #1
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Initial outbreak on lower leg?

I went to my doctor last week for what appeared to be an infected insect bite on my lower leg (halfway between my ankle and knee). I had broken out in hives all across my neck and arms. He took a culture to see if is was a form of staph. The culture came back negative. I've been taking antibiotics and putting an ointment on the sore. My whole body was itching, and new sores appeared on my other leg where I was itching.

I went back to the doctor yesterday, and he thinks I contracted herpes by brushing up against one of my students. Although the intial sore is 2-3 cm across, he said the new sores looked like herpes.

I went to a dermatologist today who said that it just looks like an infected insect bite and that I spread the infection with my itching. He also said I'm probably allergic to the ointment, so that caused the rash. I have no spot anywhere else on my body, and he doesn't think it's herpes.

I'm still a little confused about who to believe. Has anyone heard of an initial outbreak occuring on the lower leg?

 
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Old 10-24-2006, 12:54 PM   #2
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Re: Initial outbreak on lower leg?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilmisssunshine
I'm still a little confused about who to believe. Has anyone heard of an initial outbreak occuring on the lower leg?
LilMiss-

Your intial outbreak can occur anywhere, but will usually show up where the virus first made it's way into the body. Fact is I've never heard of anyone getting herpes by brushing up against someone or sitting on a toilet seat. The virus can only live outside the body for a matter of seconds. The only way you could have gotten it on your leg would be if someone with an open herpes lesion rub up against you hard and broke the skin. The reason for that is the skin on the leg or arm is much thicker than the genital area, therefore it's harder for the virus to penetrate the skin in those areas.

If you really want to know if it's herpes or not, go to your primary care physcian and tell them you want a culture done to test for herpes. Be specific and don't let them tell you it's just generalized dermatitis or nothing to worry about. Tell them you want a herpes test.

It almost sounds like poison ivy to me. I know that may not be what it is, but poison ivy and herpes looks VERY similar. You have blisters, weeping clear fluid, itching, and you can spread it if you have the ivy oil underneath your fingernails. It's an old wives tail that you can spread poison ivy, BUT if you still have residual oil underneath your fingernails you can spread it like that.

Again, start by ruling stuff out, so go get the lesions tested for H while you still have them just to make sure.

 
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:42 PM   #3
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Re: Initial outbreak on lower leg?

Thanks for the reply. In everything I've researched, I also haven't found anyone who contracted herpes this way. It seems a little far fetched that I brushed against someone on the open sore on my lower leg. I questioned the doctor quite extensively.

The sore appeared after I went on a hike almost three weeks ago. Poison ivy would have appeared sooner than a week and a half after the hike, so he ruled that out. (Although someone else on the hike ended up with a bad case of poison oak.

I am going to get a test done just because I want to make sure since he brought it up. There's always a chance, but I think it's weird for herpes blisters to show up on this part of my leg. The GP said he thinks the virus seeped through the bandage and sweatpants I was wearing to bed and infected my other leg. But like I said, the dermatologist was fairly confident that it's just an infected insect bite that I spread and the rash appeared because of an allergic reaction to the ointment. I spread it from scratching (I had an awful case of hives). The spots are exactly in the places I was scratching.

When blisters appear, are they usually contained in one area? I've got 14 or 15 blisters going from my knee to almost my ankle. The other leg has the initial sore and one other spot above it that looks like an overgrown pimple. I wondered why they would be there and not where the draining liquid ran down my leg.

Of course, I'm assuming this is an initial outbreak since I've never had symptoms (not that that really matters). But I've also not heard of people having subsequent outbreaks in different parts of the body.

<sigh> I know, I know. I need to just get the test done and find out for sure.

Last edited by lilmisssunshine; 10-24-2006 at 03:43 PM.

 
Old 10-24-2006, 04:37 PM   #4
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Re: Initial outbreak on lower leg?

If you still have the lesions, your doctor could take a swab to be sure. Herpes on your body like that...or at least on me...feels very much like a rash of poison ivy...oh my gosh, it itches so horribly and it has tiny little blister bumps just like poison ivy does and it oozes just like poison ivy oh and it takes forever to go away just like poison ivy..HA! Well...is it possible that you touched some poison ivy and forgot about it? Ya know, it seems unlikely that you'd get it the way the doctor suggested but it could happen if a kid or someone touched you with it on their hands? Does anyone around you get cold sores...I also believe that you can have it break out in a place that wasn't necessarily the spot it entered your body...so it wouldn't necessarily be that they touched you on your leg. Because herpes isn't a skin infection, it's a virus. For instance many folks that have genital herpes have outbreaks around the anus or on their thigh or buttocks and that is not where it entered their system...if ya know what I mean!!!!! When I had my initial OB of genital herpes...I got rashes in a bunch of places...in between my fingers and on my wrist...several itching spots on my lower legs..a really bad place on my buttocks...oh and even the tops of my feet itched! Just remember, it's in your system...it's not necessarily being spread from where you are touching although autoinnoculation is common during an innitial OB.
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Last edited by keepsgoin; 10-24-2006 at 04:43 PM.

 
Old 10-24-2006, 06:32 PM   #5
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Re: Initial outbreak on lower leg?

I keep wondering why my doctor didn't swab the sores when I was in his office. He told me we'd know if it is herpes if it comes back! He has me still taking antibiotics and 3gm of Valtrex each day because he said he's not 100% sure of what it is. The dermatologist told me to stop taking the Valtrex and give my skin 2-3 weeks to heal.

I went in for STD testing in July at an STD clinic. I asked for a herpes test, but the doctor during my physical exam said that she saw nothing that suggested I had herpes. She said I didn't need to test unless I knew for sure or had reasonable suspicion that I had been exposed. I kind of wish I had gone ahead and done it then.

How long do outbreaks typically last?

 
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