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Herpes or recurrent pimples?
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Herpes or recurrent pimples?

Dear Doc,
I am on this site because I am completely confused about the symptoms I have been experiencing. About 10 months ago, I remember having what I thought to be a huge pimple at the border of the upper lip, just under the right nostril. It took awhile to heal, hurt tremendously, and left quite the scar, which still hasn't completely healed as a matter of fact. I wasn't too concerned then, because I was sure that it was just a garden variety pimple in an awkward place, so i didn't get it checked out. For the past two years or so, I have also had two painless sores on either side of the inside of my cheek. They are more like bumps than sores, so I didn't think much of them either.
About a month ago, I decided to get myself tested for STD's before getting into a new relationship. Hep, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, the works. The nurse also cultured the two bumps on the inside of my cheeks. Everything came out negative. Around the 15th of last month, I was stressed out, pulling all nighters for tests and not eating well. Started feeling like I was coming down with something,it hurt to swallow and there was a small pimple right above my upper lip. i put some toothpaste on it, it dried up and went away. two days later, my upper lip felt strange and at the same spot as the previous scar from the large pimple 10 months ago, there was a swelling. It hurt like the dickens, and on day 3 I had a yellowhead there. It swelled up quite a bit with yellow pus. I popped it the same day, and it wept yellow pus, then a bit of blood, and then clear fluid. I took a picture of it, and everyone I showed it to thought it looked like a zit. Went to the doctor the next day, and the doc seemed confused as well. Said that it didn't look like a pimple, but the tingling and burning symptoms were herpetic. I used everything from abreva (which helped alleviate symptoms a lot) to red wine to garlic to get rid of it. Slowly, it did go away, and left a scar. The doc didn't call me about the culture so i assume it came back negative.
Yesterday, I started developing another lesion in the same area. I applied topical acyclovir to it three times yesterday. This time however, it wasn't as painful however, and as far as I can tell, I have no other symptoms.This morning...same thing, yellowhead started to form. by the afternoon it was huge. I had to head to class so i popped it, and it wept first pus, then clear fluid. Headed over to the doc, who said it looked like a cold sore, but he wasn't sure after I showed him before popping pics. He prescribed cloxacillin or something...took a swab and sent me on my way.
Now, a few questions. Do my symptoms sound like herpes? And would herpes manifest itself as a single yellow pussed lesion in the same area? Also, isn't yellow pus usually indicative of bacterial infections? what are the chances of herpes looking like a huge yellowhead? please answer the above in light of your own experiences of seeing the illness,
Thankyou Dr. Rockoff
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242489_tn?1210500813
No, it doesn't sound like herpes.  It sounds like pimples ("zits.")  These can be topped with yellow or white pus.  It's best not to squeeze them.  You can start with over-the-counter acne treatments containing benzoyl peroxide (many brands), and move up to prescription-strength treatments if needed.  Herpes produces a cluster of blisters that lasts 7-10 days and recurs in the same place, unlike yours, which are coming in different places.  Show the next one to a doctor when the bump is unsqueezed.  This doesn't sound like an STD to me.

Best.

Dr. Rockoff
5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Just wanted to add before you answered my question, that to counter what i thought to be the zit the first time, i started taking large quantities of zinc...50 mg per day for about 3 days. gums started bleeding, but i am not sure if that was coincidental with possible herpes or just generally bad oral health, which i do seem to suffer from, along with chronic dry mouth despite regular brushing and flossing. any input on that would be great too.
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Avatar_n_tn
Think of herpes as a blister "on top" of the skin, not under it.  And an initial infection usually includes more than one blister/lesion.  Also, there is a clear fluid only, not yellow pus.  Good luck until you hear from the Doc.
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Avatar_n_tn
Doctor,
sorry if i didn't clarify...the lesion is arising in the same location on my upper lip every time, which is why i am concerned. there is also scarring, which is normally not associated with the hsv 1 virus. i tried to not pop it, but it was tremendously unsightly, hence before class i had to. after 3 days on cloxacillin, it's better but now i am feeling a tingle again.
thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
sounds like "acne inversa"...
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Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, I have the same exact thing! was started.
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