Dermatology Expert Forum
Lip infection
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This forum is for questions regarding Dermatology issues, such as: rashes, acne, birthmarks, skin infections, rosacea, and general skin care. All questions will be answered by a medical professional.

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Lip infection

Hello,

I have a recurring problem with my lips which one doctor told me was fungal and another doctor said was viral.

It has recurred ever few months for the last 3 years. The physical sypmtoms are: many tiny, tiny blisters all along the outer edge of my lips that weep pus or some sort of discharge. The discharge dries up into scabby flakes that I can remove with a hot cloth. My lips become extremely itchy and swollen. Sometimes the itchyness spreads to my eyelids and the skin around my mouth (chin, below the nose). It does seem to be triggered by stress, sunlight or rubbing (as in kissing). The episode usually last 4-5 days. I can feel a flare-up coming on because my skins starts to feel irritated.

I do have the cold sore virus, which in the past was charecterized by a single, large blister. But I haven't had one of those in several years.

I've been prescribed fungal cream and a pill to supress cold sores. I was travelling in the tropics when the first flare-up appeared. I used to get it every month; now it's about every 5-6 months.

My difficulty is in being able to schedule an appointment with a doctor while a flare-up occurs so that the doctor may look at my lips and I've never had a lab culture done on the discharge.

These are my questions. One, any ideas of what it might be? and two, is it possible to walk into a lab clinic and request a culture during a flare-up without a doctor referral?
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242489_tn?1210500813
What you describe sounds neither fungal nor viral.  It sounds like cheilitis, or eczema of the lip.  Usually not allergic and certainly not contagious.  Try 1% hydrocortisone several times a day when you get an outbreak and se if that helps.  A good photo may help too if you can't make a timely appointment with a skin doctor.

Take care.

Dr. Rockoff
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