ZocdocAnswersMy friend recently told me that he has mat herpes from wrestling - what is that?

Question

My friend recently told me that he has mat herpes from wrestling - what is that?

Also he told me that he is on medication for it and that I can not get it from him. Is this true?

Answer

Mat herpes is a very common manifestation of the herpes simplex type 1 virus that is usually spread by close contact between athletes. It is estimated that as many as 90% of adults have been exposed to this virus in the past, and so it is quite possible that you have already been exposed. Close contact, sharing a drinking glass, kissing, and other activities can all lead to transmission of the virus. Once you have it, you may notice a brief period of swollen lymph nodes, a low grade fever, and possibly fatigue, but most people will not know that these symptoms are from having acquired herpes simplex, and will instead blame it on a common cold or another of the many viruses that we all intermittently have. As far as transmission goes, the fluid that comes from the sores when they ooze is highly contagious. For that reason, it is very important that people with active infections avoid close contact. For wrestlers, it is usually recommended that they avoid contact until the lesions have healed. Your friend's doctor can tell him when the lesions have resolved and are not contagious. Most people do not need antivirals, but they can help to decrease the risk of transmitting the disease to others. Please speak with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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