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

Emotional Consequences of HSV-1 Infections

Psychosocial and emotional consequences are a major concern of children and adolescents with HSV-1 outbreaks. Raborn, Chan, and Grace (2004) conducted a survey to determine the primary psychosocial concerns, main treatment modalities, and how health care professionals respond to individual inquiries about recurrent herpes labials. A random sample of 998 dentists, pharmacists, and family physicians completed a one-page survey. The authors found that the primary concern for people seeking treatment was pain and discomfort (81%); however, social stigma (61%) was the second major reason people sought health care professionals to treat HSV-1 outbreaks (Raborn et al., 2004).

Herpes labialis causes psychosocial stress due to the visibility of oral herpes (Augustin, 2001), and people perceive the outbreaks as annoying and disfiguring (Buske-Kirschbaum et al., 2001). Increased shame, fear, embarrassment, and lowered self-esteem are reported in children with HSV-1 outbreaks due to teasing and ridicule by other children (Fitzpatrick, 1999). More research to examine the emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral effects HSV-1 infections have on children is needed for clinicians to effectively manage the condition and the corresponding psychosocial stress in these children.


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