1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Herpes
HERPES (from the Gr. ἕρπειν, to creep), an inflammation of the true skin resulting from a lesion of the underlying nerve or its ganglion, attended with the formation of isolated or grouped vesicles of various sizes upon a reddened base. They contain a clear fluid, and either rupture or dry up. Two well-marked varieties of herpes are frequently met with. (a) In herpes labialis et nasalis the eruption occurs about the lips and nose. It is seen in cases of certain acute febrile ailments, such as fevers, inflammation of the lungs or even in a severe cold. It soon passes off. (b) In the herpes zoster, zona or " shingles " the eruption occurs in the course of one or more cutaneous nerves, often on one side of the trunk, but it may be on the face, limbs or other parts. It may occur at any age, but is probably more frequently met with in elderly people. The appearance of the eruption is usually preceded by severe stinging neuralgic pains for several days, and, not only during the continuance of the herpetic spots, but long after they have dried up and disappeared, these pains sometimes continue and give rise to great suffering. The disease seldom recurs. The most that can be done for its relief is to protect the parts with cotton wool or some dusting powder, while the pain may be allayed by opiates or bromide of potassium. Quinine internally is often of service.