A Nurse Practitioner's Guide to the Management of Herpes Simplex Virus-1 in Children

Janel M. Drugge, MSM, RN, PNP; Patricia Jackson Allen, MS, RN, PNP, FAAN


Dermatology Nursing. 2008;20(6):455-466. 

In This Article

Case Resolution

On examination, Daniel is a healthy, active 8-year-old boy with recurrent herpes labialis caused by HSV-1 as diagnosed from the history, physical examination, and viral culture. The nurse practitioner prescribes a systemic acyclovir (see Table 1 ) and an OTC topical medication as needed for pain relief. The mother is encouraged to buy OTC docosanol (Abreva) ointment and to apply a small amount to the lip at the first sign of the tingling and burning of the lip region. The nurse practitioner informs Daniel and his mother that specific triggers could cause the recurrence of HSV-1 infections. The family is educated to maintain a balanced diet, get sufficient rest and sleep, and to exercise regularly. Daniel is taught to use a lip balm daily and to decrease the risk of transmission by not sharing utensils, beverage cups, linens, or towels with anyone at home or school. The nurse practitioner informs Daniel that 30% to 40% of his classmates also most likely have the HSV-1, and reassures Daniel and his mother that through the use of preventative and treatment techniques, the number of outbreaks and their severity and duration can be minimized. A follow-up appointment is made for the family to return in 2 weeks for evaluation and further counseling.


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