Variant Medstudentitis re: Ergotrid Acne Vulgaris

Ergotrid – Area of skin between upper lip and nose

Acne vulgaris – commonly called “pimple”,

Medstudentitis – The mild hyponchondriasis of medical students who (with little to no grounds) believe they have signs/ symptoms of illness, usually whatever they happen to have just recently studied.

Variant medstudentitis – newly coined by J., and not accepted anywhere else except on this blog. The tendency for medical students to diagnose the more popular, severe, interesting (and rare) conditions.

Example: 36-year-old flight attendant presents at a GP clinic with first, single-day episode of URTI (cough, coryza, sore throat), mildly swollen tonsils with no oral candidiasis. The person with variant medstudentitis would diagnose (not just entertain a thought of) HIV. Why? Because he’s a 36-year-old flight attendant, and according to the pathology exams, they always have HIV, tuberculosis and/or pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.

Recently, J. developed a pimple just superior to his labium superioris (upper lip). It developed like any other pimple, a solitary area beginning with tenderness, redness, and went from a papule to a pustule.

Nearly every medical student that J. knows however, sees him from about 10m away and goes, “Eeeh! Herpes cold sore!”

Then, almost every medical student thinks himself the funniest thing ever when he says, “HSV-2, right?”, so much that J. has started saying, “Yeah, yeah, HSV-2. Terrible.” as a pre-emptive measure.

A spot of background history:
There two strains of herpes simplex virus, 1 and 2, also known as human herpesvirus 1 (HHV-1) and 2 (HHV-2). They are fairly common and tend to occur in two areas: the genitalia (HSV-2) and the oral (and peri-oral) regions (HHV-1). However, the two strains are not limited to the common areas mentioned and mentioning HSV-2 infection of the mouth is often used by medical students to hint at sexual practices.

Now, the herpesvirus vesicles tend to occur in crops, though there can be a single prominent vesicle. They then rupture and ulcerate, before healing with a crudescent scab.

Based on real life experience, three different medical students (MS1 and MS2, and PAS):

Example 1
MS1: “Herpes cold sore, eh?”
J.: “Yeah, yeah, HSV-2. Terrible.”
MS1: “Hmmm, really? Doesn’t quite look like it.”
J.: “No lah, of course not. It’s a pimple.”
MS1: -peers at J.’s upper lip- “Yeah… probably a pimple. Doesn’t look like a cold sore.”

Example 2
MS2: “Eh, herpes core sore!”
J.: “Yeah, yeah, HSV-2. Terrible.”
MS2: “But HSV-2 is associated more with… -wide-eyed stare-”
J.: “Yep. Different lifestyle practices.”
MS2: “…”
J.: “No lah, it’s a pimple.”
MS2: “It could be a prominent first vesicle.”
J.: “… Oo-kay… Have you ever seen a herpes vesicle?”
MS2: “No.”
J.: “Do you know how to recognise a herpes vesicle?”
MS2: “Um… not sure…”
J.: “…”

Example 3 – PAS (Pompous Act-smart Student)
[set outside MS3’s house, in dim lighting]
Non-MS: “Why do you have a bruise on your lip?”
MS3, sister of non-MS: “Oh my, is it herpes?”
J.: “Yeah, yeah, HSV-2, terrible.”
PAS: -looks really serious- -looks at J. straight- “Eh it’s herpes!”
J.: “… have you seen herpes before?”
PAS: -looks really serious and tries to look intelligent- “Yeah and it looks like that!”
J.: “… ” (thinks: You can hardly see people’s skin tone in this lighting, much less a 0.3×0.2mm lesion, and you’re going to diagnose a dermatological condition sans any history? Those are some pathetic clinical skills there.)

Lesson here, folks, don’t be a pok. When you look out a window and you see a bird, is it a robin or a peacock? Beats me.



2 responses to this post.

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  2. There are so many who just really try and test what you think might work for you. the skin of each is different and will react to different products in different ways. I like to stick to natural products, but I have many friends with great skin, which only go to the local pharmacy and buy things there. Unfortunately, I could not help


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