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What is the reason for recurrent boils around the lips?

Q: I am 26 years old. I have an allergy around my lips. It occurs atleast twice in a year. It looks like a group of tiny boils. This is happening for the last 5-6 years. First two days, the boils are clear, third day onwards they start healing. My sister also gets the similar allergy. When she consulted a doctor, she was told to eat ground nuts. But there was no improvement. When I consulted a doctor, I was told it is because of some deficiency. He gave me some medicines also. But it healed without taking any medicines. Why is this happening? Is it hereditary?

A:You are most likely having recurrent herpes labialis. It is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (in most of the cases) and is recurrent and chronic in course. It presents with a cluster of clear fluid filled blisters around the lips. Stress, menstruation, exposure of sun, fever etc. are precipitating factors. It usually heals within 4-5 days. Topical acyclovir 5% cream every 4 hourly may help or systemically acyclovir 400 mg thrice daily for 5 days may be taken. It is better to start treatment early to get relief with these medicines. There is no cure for this problem. It is not a hereditary disease but is transmitted from one person to another through mucous membranes.

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