Herpes symtoms can be tricky to identify; especially if you’ve never heard about herpes before or have never seen pictures of herpes sores. Some people dismiss these symtoms as ingrown hairs, jock itch, pimples, or insect bites. But these symtoms should not be taken lightly.
Majority of people with herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections don’t experience the usual signs and symtoms. They may also have very mild ones that just go unnoticed.
This is why the virus gets passed around so easily to unsuspecting partners. The herpes virus can even remain dormant inside the body for months or years at a time.
If you’ve lately discovered suspicious looking blisters, or experienced strange sensations in your mouth or genital area, then you just might have herpes.
So how can you tell if you have herpes? Below is a short summary of what to expect from herpes symtoms:
Before a herpes outbreak occurs, you might feel some strange tingling or burning sensation all over your body. This is called prodrome. The tell-tale sores are not yet visible but you are already contagious at this point. Early symtoms of herpes can have generalized manifestations and may include one or more of the following:
A herpes outbreak can start out very mild and can thus be difficult to detect. These early symtoms occur within two weeks of exposure and can last up to 20 days.
(picture of what a herpes outbreak looks like)
General herpes symtoms are then followed by local herpes symtoms. Each person is different, so the intensity and duration of an outbreak varies. The area of the skin exposed to the virus can get very itchy and red, later erupting into sores.
It can get very uncomfortable and painful from here, to the extent that the mere thought of peeing sends shivers down your spine.
These sores can either appear around the mouth (oral herpes) or around the genital area (genital herpes).
Best is to leave your sores alone until they dry and scab. Take herpes medications to speed up the healing process. Never scratch or touch your sores. If you must touch to clean yourself, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water. This simple hygienic procedure inactivates the virus.
The first outbreak is usually the worst for everyone. But hang in there. The duration and severity of herpes symtoms dramatically reduce over time.
Yes. The herpes virus starts shedding right at the start of the first tingle or itch. Be careful with sharing utensils, towels, sex toys, etc. Although the herpes virus dies very quickly outside the body, it is a good idea to take precautions just in case, to prevent the virus from spreading.
Always practice safe sex even after your symtoms have gone. There is still a chance of passing on the virus, as it can shed on the surface of your skin even without the visible signs of an outbreak.
Female symtoms of herpes are not so easily distinguished. Most women think they might be having yeast infections or boils. In fact, over 60% of women who experience the first symptoms of herpes do not realize they are infected.
Men also encounter the male symtoms of herpes. Some can be stubborn or prideful and not get themselves checked by a doctor, thinking that the sores will all go away. But symtoms of herpes should be taken seriously; the sooner you act on it, the faster you will heal.
Symtoms of herpes can also occur around the eyes. This condition is difficult to live with as it can cause some serious ocular problems. So it is important that when you do experience a herpes outbreak, keep your hands away from the cold sore or genital herpes sore.
Now that you’ve read all you can about herpes symtoms, there are a couple of things that you can do in the meantime:
Media and ignorance can paint a very bad picture of herpes. But in essence, herpes is just a tiny virus that causes minor skin problems and inconveniences from time to time.
You'll just have to make some changes in your lifestyle, that's all.
Do remember that you are not alone. There are millions of people infected with herpes symtoms that have moved on with their lives, go on dates, and get married.
The herpes virus does not define who you are.
You are still the same wonderful person worthy to love and be loved.
So take a deep breath. Don’t allow this virus to take over your life and make you unhappy.