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Worried about getting Herpes by shaking hands

Resolved Question:

Hello I am a bit worried about herpes, as I notice people with cold sores and even other people with cold sores and red badly marked skin at the same time. My question is what is the risk of me contracting herpes on my hand by shaking someones hand who I have noticed in the past who then had red pin sized dot scabs on both hands, at the time though that I shook his hand his hand looked like it was all healed but had brown blemishes or superficial scarring from the scabbing. Could I contract herpes on my hand from this? My hands looked like they had no cuts or anything maybe just a tad bit raw from washing all the time. Let me know the risk of the situation with this person and if you think what he has is herpes. Also I usually try to wear antibacterial barrier cream on my face and hands, as I work with people with cold sores etc but you have to reapply every 4 hours. My other question is, is there a anti herpes vaccine shot that you can take to protect yourself? Let me know because these people sometimes come close to my face which I don't like.

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases(STD)Specialist

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Category: Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Kruti Jobanputra Banodkar is online now

Expert:  Dr. Kruti Jobanputra Banodkar replied 4 Days.


Thanks for posting your query at DoctorSpring.com. I can understand your concern.

The person you have mentioned may have had herpes zoster or shingles. However, I can't tell you for sure unless I see the lesions.

This link is for your reference.

A person with herpes is infections only when there are active blisters. He is not infections before blisters appear and after scabs form.

Herpes zoster is contagious to a person who has never had chicken pox.

There is a vaccine available for prevention of shingles but is usually recommended for elderly age group.

Hope this helps, please feel free to discuss further.
Take care

Patient replied :

Herpes zoster is what I thought it might be as well. I have already had chicken pox when young, also at the time of shaking his hand, there was no scabbing at all but either blemishes or superficial scarring probably from the scabs falling off. So does this mean I should be ok? Also is herpes whitlow contagious in the same way or is it contagious even if you've had chicken pox? Please answer my above questions. But my main question is, is herpes when only superficial scarring or blemishes only present is it contagious?

Expert:  Dr. Kruti Jobanputra Banodkar replied 3 Days.


Thanks for posting your query.

When there is superficial scarring or blemishes then shingles is not contagious.

Herpetic whitlow is different from shingles, it's caused by the herpes simplex virus.

It can be contracted by a person who comes in contact with the virus through a herpes lesion.

Please let me know if you have any queries.

Take care

Patient replied :

Ok if it was herpes whitlow would the superficial scarring or heald blemishes from where the lesions where be contagious? Also is antiseptic barrier cream like derma shield be the best defence against herpes in general or is there a vaccine you can get to protect yourself against all types of herpes? Please answer all questions, thanks.

Expert:  Dr. Kruti Jobanputra Banodkar replied 2 Days.


Thanks for your reply.

Herpetic whitlow won't be infectious in case there is only superficial scarring or blemishes.

Dermashield won't protect against herpes.

There is no vaccine that protects against all types of herpes.

Take care

Patient replied :

Ok thanks, also it is derma shield plus it is 1% allantoin as the skin protectant barrier and benzalkonium chloride 0.13% as the antiseptic. It does say on the website that dermashield plus formular does kill mrsa, herpes, staph etc. would it be correct to say dermashield regular formular only 1% allantoin doesn't protect against it but dermashield plus does?

Expert:  Dr. Kruti Jobanputra Banodkar replied 1 Day.

Since Dermashield being a proprietary formula very specific details are not easily available. Howevet this information can be helpful : http://www.timeless-ent.com/dermashield/faqs.html

Thank you

Dr. Kruti Jobanputra Banodkar
Category: Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeon
Diploma in Dermatology - Royal College Of Physicians & Surgeons Of Glasgow, UK , 2010
Residency - DNB, Dermatology -  K.J Somaiya Hospital, Mumbai, 2009
Medical School & Internship - MBBS - Dr. D . Y . Patil Medical College, Mumbai, 2004
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