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Autoinoculation Question

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Hi everyone,


I know this is a fairly common experience with a diagnosis of HSV-1, wondering about all the possibilities. I was diagnosed a couple years ago with HSV-1 in the genital area, but I have a question about autoinoculation. I had an experience during my first outbreak ever with autoinoculation (whitlow on the finger, which hasn't reoccured). Since my initial outbreak a couple years ago, I have only had one more last summer.


My mind tends to go to the worst possibility, but I have developed a system for washing and drying which has kept me comfortable the past couple years. When I get out of the shower I dry my body off with a towel (including my genitals). Then I wash my hands and with a new towel I dry my face, ears, etc. My question is: could I autoinoculate if I forget to wash my hands and go straight from drying my body/genitals with one towel to drying my face/ears with another towel? Particularly, could I autoinoculate in my ear region, leading to herpesviral encephalitis? I have a number of piercings in my ears, could they create an opportunity for autoinoculation leading to herpesviral encephalitis?


Again, I know my mind tends to go to the worst possibility, but there is something to be said for putting my mind at ease.


Thank you.

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@blackbird1967 It sounds like the autoinoculation you experienced was during a time when your body had not yet built up antibodies. I would think autoinoculation in general would be unlikely now, given you are two years out. Maybe it would help to think about how the majority of adults carry HSV1 in their mouths, most unaware of it, and those adults sometimes kiss/lick/suck their partners' ears/earlobes without worrying about it leading to encephalitis.

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Herpes encephalitis is internally spread, not from autoinoculation. Meaning that the virus is already in your system and it sneaks up into your brain. One of the ways to prevent this from happening is to take care of your immune system.


I just want you to note there are other viruses that may cause encephalitis-like mono. You can also get it from mosquitoes. Instead of worrying about this possibility, I would just focus on staying as healthy as you can. And relax on the autoinoculation- i think you are past the risk stage for that.

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