Recurrent herpes labialis in skiers. Clinical observations and effect of sunscreen.

Abstract

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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