What are the Different Symptoms of Herpes?

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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 March 2020
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Herpes is a viral infection that causes sores or blisters. It is often transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids and does not have a cure. There are two types of herpes: herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2. The symptoms of herpes can vary depending on the virus type, as well as by gender.

The herpes simplex 1 virus tends to be the more widespread of the two virus types and is typically responsible for facial herpes infections. Cold sores, also referred to as fever blisters, are usually the most common symptom of a facial herpes infection. The sores are swollen, red blisters that generally appear on the lips or the outer skin of the mouth. The blisters tend to burst and leak clear fluid before drying up and healing usually within two to three weeks. Other symptoms of facial herpes include sore throat, fever, swollen glands, or pain around the mouth.

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that is most often caused by the herpes simplex 2 virus. In rarer cases, genital herpes can be caused by herpes simplex 1. Herpes symptoms can manifest as red blisters or sores on or around the genitals, which dry up and heal in the same manner as oral cold sores. Genital herpes can affect any areas of the genitalia, including the vagina, labia, penis, or scrotum; however, it can also affect surrounding areas, especially the anus, buttocks, and upper thighs.


Some people do not show any major symptoms of herpes. They may have slight patches of red skin around the genitals or very small sores that resemble ingrown hairs or pimples. People with herpes around the buttocks or anus may notice bumps or pain that they may mistake for hemorrhoids. Herpes sores inside the urethra can result in difficulty or pain while urinating. Women with genital herpes may notice increased vaginal itching.

Since herpes is a virus, there is no cure; therefore, the symptoms of herpes may heal and then reappear over time. The reappearance of herpes, referred to as outbreaks, tend to have milder symptoms because the sufferer’s immune system becomes used to the virus. Sores and blisters tend to be the most noticeable symptoms of herpes of both the facial and genital varieties. Other symptoms that may continually occur are fever, headache, sensitivity to light, swollen glands, or sore throat.

Some cases of herpes outbreaks are extremely mild and show few visible symptoms. Some people with the virus experience physical sensations, referred to as prodrome, that can serve as a forewarning of an outbreak. Prodrome symptoms include tingling in the previously affected areas, leg pain, and back pain.


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Post 3

Many clusters of blisters that turn into sores are a symptom of severe herpes. Those with mild herpes usually only experience a few blisters and they scab over and heal very quickly.

Along with sore like blisters, fever, fatigue, pain while urinating and swollen lymph nodes are other common symptoms of severe herpes.

Post 2

@fify-- I think that's just a stage the blister goes through. There are numerous stages of a herpes blister. First, skin tingles and itches. This is a sign that a blister is getting ready to emerge. A red bump develops and a few days later, it becomes an ulcer. So a virus and white blood cell filled pus forms in the center. Several days later, the ulcer pops and leaks this fluid. Then the blister dries up and eventually goes away.

It is possible to shorten the duration of a blister or get rid of it before it turns into an ulcer. If certain precaution are taken as soon as the tingling begins or as soon as the red

bump appears, the other stages can be skipped. Taking lysine supplements or using lysine creams, using an anti-viral medication or certain home remedies can prevent blisters or cause them to heal quickly.

I was able to get rid of a cold sore in just a few days (and without ulceration) with the use of salt. I basically applied salt to the ulcer several times a day. It burned a lot however and it was painful, so you may want to use an over-the-counter cold sore cream instead.

Post 1

Why do cold sores burst? Is it possible to get rid of herpes blisters before this occurs?

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