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Patient Information Leaflets (PILs)

These Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) are specially written by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD).

The BAD has been awarded The Information Standard certification for the process it employs to develop information products aimed at the general public, which include PILs, Sun Awareness Campaign materials, and other information products.

The BAD shall hold responsibility for the accuracy of the information published, and neither the scheme operator nor the scheme owner shall have any responsibility for costs, losses, or direct or indirect damages or costs arising from inaccuracy of information or omissions in information published on the website on behalf of the BAD.

Please note:

  1. There are thousands of different skin complaints, therefore, the focus of the British Association of Dermatologists' PILs production is on the most common, rarest or debilitating skin conditions.
  2. The offer to provide details of source materials used to inform the British Association of Dermatologists' PILs is for instances where the advice provided in the PILs does not reflect local practice and therefore evidence supporting said advice needs to be produced. It is not an offer to conduct literature searches or supply bibilographic materials for your own research.
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Herpes Simplex

There are two herpes simplex viruses that cause skin infection. They are called herpes simplex type 1 and type 2. They can be transferred from person to person by direct skin to skin contact with the affected place when enough virus is present. This is often a lesion or sore but transmission may also occur at other times, perhaps when there is only an itch or tingle in the area. The most common places of infection are the mouth (known as ‘cold sores’), followed by the genital area (genital herpes) and the hands. Most people are only infected in one area and are unlikely to transfer the infection to other parts of their bodies. 

Infection may be followed by symptoms, such as sores or blisters, within a few days but some people will not notice anything for months or years. Others are carriers who never have symptoms. The virus remains dormant in the sensory nerves close to the place of original infection.

Reactivation may result in more blisters nearby, on skin that is served by the same nerves (dermatome). The frequency of recurrences varies from person to person. For some people symptoms appear several times a year, in others rarely or never.

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