How to Recognize the Signs & Symptoms of Herpes

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Herpes comes in two forms, the non-genital herpes simplex 1 (HSV1) and herpes simplex 2 (HSV2). Both strains are extremely contagious and can be transmitted through sexual contact or orally even when there are no signs of the disease. The herpes virus is incurable, but treatable. Catching herpes early is crucial to avoid transmitting the infection. Here are some ways you can recognise the signs and symptoms of a herpes infection in yourself and in others.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Be aware of symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache and general malaise, as these may be signs that you are about to have a herpes outbreak. According to the Mayo Clinic, you might also experience achy muscles and swelling in the groin or other areas where a herpes sore is developing.

  2. 2

    Investigate if you notice a tingling sensation on your genital area, buttocks, inner thighs,or around the oral cavity. Herpes will initially cause a throbbing and tingly feeling. According to the University of Maryland, the first herpes symptoms will probably occur within two weeks of exposure.

  3. 3

    Look for redness or irritation if you develop an itch in or around the genitals or mouth. After the area begins to tingle, it will become red and itchy.

  4. 4

    Watch for blisters to develop on the red area. Small bubbly, clear blisters will form when you have the herpes virus. These blisters will then burst to form a scab. A scab on the lips, genital area or in the oral cavity may indicate a healing herpes sore.

  5. 5

    Get to a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Medications such as acyclovir can be taken to shorten the duration of an outbreak. In addition, suppressive therapies such as valicyclovir can help you to avoid future outbreaks.

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