Recurrent orofacial herpes infection may be triggered by high altitude skiing, presumably because of solar ultraviolet radiation exposure. Six (12%) of a group of 51 subjects with a history of skiing-triggered herpes observed during 1 week of high altitude skiing experienced reactivations of orofacial herpes a median of 3 1/2 days after exposure. Within this group, application of a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 failed to influence the reactivation rate as compared with a placebo. Reactivation of herpes triggered by skiing is common. As application of a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 did not appear to influence the reactivation rate, alternate approaches to the control of recurrent orofacial herpes are needed.
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