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Avatar universal

Tiny itchy bumbs on lips

I have tiny itchy bumps on the left side of my lips - almost on the corner, but not quite - and near the edges.  This started about 2 days ago.  I am living overseas where I don't speak the language & it's hard to tell if the doctors understand (just on previous visits when I had a cold).  The day that this occurred I tried a sample of a local homemade regional dish and was offered to take some home and ate some that night.  The girl who offered me rinsed her fork but didn't wash it.  That night as well, I tried another regional food sample from someone else's cup.  Personally knowing these individuals, I didn't think much of it.  However some of the utensils and dishes are shared amongst strangers who don't quite wash things and think rinsing will suffice and I don't know if these were 'community' dishes or personal dishes of these individuals - my lack of insight & judgement there.  I normally have all my own dishware.  

My two optional conclusions are: HSV-1 or an allergic reaction to something in the dish.  

The next day (yesterday) I forgot about the rash as it felt like it went away.  I tried more of the regional dish (before I was really worried and could pinpoint anything) and it immediately flared up upon the first spoonful and became irritated and has been irritated since.  I thought "either the person who made this had a cold sore at the time or this is an allergic reaction to some local agriculture."  To which, while I was enjoy the dish (extremely), I do not enjoy being a (potentially) unwelcome host to this virus.  

I have spent approx. 8 hrs total online researching.  Every credible medical website seems to indicate HSV-1 (including picture samples of small mild cases - nothing I have looks like an open lesion or an actual 'cold sore).  However I found a forum where people shared pictures as well and different food/cosmestic/soap allergies that they have which produced the same reaction as on my lips and many of these people confirmed they were tested and diagnosed by the doctor for these allergies to various products.  I read about mango allergies due to oil on the skin & I also bought a mango and ate it that day but have have mangos before with no problem.  My sore(s) are no more than a few millimeters wide and no one has really noticed as they are red, but not that red.  They feel like a slight itch, but also a slight burning or numbing - slight but definitely noticable.  

Is there a way to narrow down without a doctor's visit what this is?  Because I don't think they will do anything here anyways - especially no lab tests - as I am in a country in which the consensus is that due to corruption and low wages, most people try not to really perform their job functions without additional push anyways which is always frustrating.  For instance, if it is a food allergy, will it go away in an estimated approx. period of time?  How can I further narrow this down?

I really hope it is not HSV-1.  I know it is downplayed as 'cold sores' but I also have read enough to understand its further potential implications in various interactions -both intimate and social - as well as 'viral shedding' when there is no outbreak.  Can you help????

Thank you!!  I appreciate your expertise!!
3 Responses
563773 tn?1374250139
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hello,
From the symptoms since the symptoms flared up immediately after eating the food, so it looks like a food allergy reaction. It typically does not appear under cold sores. Pain, burning, tingling, or itching occurs at the infection site before the sores appear. Then clusters of blisters erupt which break down.

You can apply some calamine lotion and take some antihistaminic like Benadryl or Calritin. If the symptoms persist or blisters or sores appear then please consult a dermatologist.

It is very difficult to precisely confirm a diagnosis without examination and investigations and the answer is based on the medical information provided. For exact diagnosis, you are requested to consult your doctor. I sincerely hope that helps. Take care and please do keep me posted on how you are doing.


Avatar universal
Dear Dr. Kaur,

Thank you so much for your advice.  I had originally been researching it within the first 3 days, and now it has moved to the other side of my lips as well.  The originally tiny "sandpaper-like" bumbs went away but I could see the under-lying start of blisters.  I was trying to keep the blisters from becoming blisters and drying them out with nail polish remover (just dabbing - I know it sounds foolish, but it's ethyl acetate and not acetone as I did not have any peroxide and I washed it off immediately with soap and water as well - though I have stopped since I discussed this with my dad and he yelled at me for putting poison to my lips & vulnerable membranes - I had thought it a reasonable alternative at the time).  Anyways, that is why the blisters did not fully develop, however I took more pictures with my camera and without pressing my lips outward (with my tongue behind) to the person on the street you see nothing, my lips look fine however my camera captures the full blisters and everything (and more) of what I originally saw there.  I think it is indeed herpes, although I don't know why it reacted in such a way to the food.  I have had a severe sore throat for the past few days and today a headache and mild fever all day long.  My lips are burning and tingling in the spots (which is driving me nuts now!) - more on the right side than the left now while the left side was the original site.  After posting I also discussed this with my dad as well.  The "ichy-ness" I described I think was minor tingling as it appears that was the onset of all of this and since this has gone on for exactly one week now, I don't know if they will get better or worse, as I am feeling worse than I have all this time, although it is only supposed to last 7-10 days.  

As you mentioned the only way to know for certain is to visit the doctor.  I did read however that blood tests will only be able to pick it up after incubating for 3 months within the body's system in order to develop anti-bodies if I indeed to have it.  I am trying to plan a visit home in June and will get a blood test then.  Until that time, if it gets worse, I will visit the doctor.  I will hold out the tiny 1 or 2% chance of hope that it is only allergies, but unfortunately I don't think it is. :-(  May I ask, if it IS some sort of contact dermatitis by some small chance, how long - how many days - that reaction may last?  The illness may be unrelated as many people at seem to be sick right now, but regarding related symptoms to Herpes, I think it is all related.

Apologies if this is more than you were looking to know, but I really appreciate your response and your expert/professional advice as well as your sincerity.  I hope you have a wonderful week and take care as well!
563773 tn?1374250139
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi,
Thanks you for your kind words I really appreciate it. Contact dermatitis usually lasts for a few days but it depends on the reacton of the immune system. Since you are now having these symptoms, so definitely oral herpes needs to be ruled out.

You need to get some investigations like sample from the sores to identify the virus, culture analysis, Tzanck smear, antigen and antibody studies and blood sampling for antibody studies done to confirm the diagnosis. My sincere advice would be to consult a dermatologist.
I hope it helps. Take care and regards.
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