What Are Herpes Symptoms?


When people hear the term herpes, they automatically assume that symptoms are obvious and painful.  Although this can be true in many instances, there are some people that have minimal to no symptoms at first, which is why it is always important to know the proper facts before assuming that one has, or does not have the herpes virus.

To understand this disease, a good starting point is to know exactly what herpes is.

Herpes is a contagious disease that can be transmitted both orally and sexually.  HSV-1 is what is commonly known as cold sores, but it can cause lesions and blisters on the genitals if oral sex is performed when a sore is present. HSV-2 is what is known as genital herpes, and this form of herpes is spread through various forms of sexual contact.  Both forms can cause mild to severe symptoms, including malaise, blister-like sores on the mouth, genitals, and anus, and there is no known cure for either form at this present time.

In regards to genital herpes, the virus enters the body through direct skin contact with a herpes lesion.  Since many people are unaware that their symptoms are that of the herpes virus, they may infect their partner without even knowing that they have the virus.  The virus will multiply within the body starting around 2 to as long as 14 days after initial infection, and various symptoms may begin to show up.

Initial symptoms include swollen glands and a flu like feeling, accompanied by a tingling or numb feeling in the area that infection took place.  If any other physical symptoms occur, there may be a rash or blisters at the site of infection, and the blisters will usually rupture within a few days.  Once they have ruptured, the area may be very tender and painful.  After the blisters heal, there may not be any other symptoms present until the next outbreak occurs.  Another common symptom in both men and women is urethral or vaginal discharge, and extremely painful urination, due to the blisters that have appeared in the area.

Once herpes has entered the system, it remains inside the body for life.  Many people that are infected go their entire lifetimes with only minimal symptoms after their initial outbreaks, and there are others that experience severe symptoms whenever they have a reoccurrence.  Since there is no known cure at this time, medication is basically geared towards pain management, and there are also antiviral medications that work well to minimize outbreaks.

Individuals with herpes can enjoy healthy and long lives, and they are not a threat to public health and safety in any way.  It is important that during outbreaks, infected individuals avoid sexual intercourse or skin to skin contact, but herpes is not an airborne illness that can be spread through sneezing or coughing.  However, doctors recommend that infected pregnant women opt for caesarian sections rather than natural childbirth to ensure that they do not pass the virus onto their children through the birth canal.

Herpes infection can be avoided by proper use of condoms and dental dams during sexual intercourse and oral sex, and knowing the facts about herpes symptoms can allow anyone that is infected to seek the medical help they need as soon as possible.

Here are some common signs of herpes infection:

  • An ulcer or open sore at the area of contact
  • Blisters of various sizes
  • Extremely itchy rash at area of infection
  • Pain and redness near infected area
  • Flu-like symptoms, general malaise
  • Swollen lymph nodes throughout the body
  • In men, penile discharge
  • Open, weeping sores or ulcers
  • Painful urination
  • Painful, achy muscles
  • Red, raw, cracked skin around genitals
  • No visible signs or symptoms

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