Herpes symptoms are only noticeable when outbreaks occur. Otherwise, the virus lies in latency in the neck or lower spine, oftentimes never causing any symptoms at all. In fact, there is virtually no way to identify the presence of the virus until an outbreak occurs.
The location of the symptoms of herpes depends on the type of the virus – oral herpes symptoms appear in and around the mouth area, and the genital variety appear in and around the genital and anal areas of the body.
The severity of the outbreaks vary from case to case and can range from mild tingling and redness to clusters of painful blisters on the skin. This can be mistaken for other skin disorders, so it is important that those concerned about the origin of sores in the oral or genital areas be tested for the herpes virus.
Early symptoms of herpes can mimic those of the flu as the body gears up for fighting a flare-up of the disease. These can include fever and headache, and depression or irritability, and inflammation of the lymph nodes, particularly those located near the site of the pending outbreak.
An oral herpes blister is commonly referred to as a cold sore. The outbreak of such a sore begins with a tingling and mile redness of the skin that then develops into a blister that can be quite large and painful. These blisters are usually located very near the lips of the infected person, but herpes symptoms can also be present inside the mouth, particularly on the tongue.
Herpes-related sores do not look like pimples, but rather blisters that contain fluid. During the cycle of herpes symptoms, these blisters will burst and dry up as the infection comes to a close. It is important to note that the fluid contained in the sores is highly contagious, and when it is present in and around the sore, the infected person is most likely to transmit the disease.
Genital symptoms of herpes vary, and although some complications that arise can be very uncomfortable, the majority of people infected with the virus that causes genital herpes have no idea they are infected and will unknowingly spread the highly contagious virus to others. Symptoms that may appear early and serve as warning signs include burning or itching sensations in the genital area, pain or burning in the buttocks area.
More advanced symptoms of herpes in the genital area include blisters similar to those that appear in cases of oral herpes. Small blisters, either as individuals or in a group, will form on the skin on or near the genitals. The tops of the blisters will eventually come off and leave open wet sores. The open sores will later dry up as scabs develop during the healing process leaving no scarring. At this time, the lesions are no longer contagious.
The full cycle of herpes symptoms takes between two and four weeks to complete. The effects are worst for most people during the first outbreak, which usually occurs within a few weeks of the initial transmission of the disease. Subsequent outbreaks of can occur four or five times a year, and the frequency of occurrences should decrease in time, though the virus is always present in the bodies of those infected.
There are many treatment options exists to help people cope with symptoms of herpes. Antiviral medications can shorten the length of symptomatic outbreaks and can make outbreaks less frequent, and may be able to prevent outbreaks of herpes symptoms altogether. Natural treatments for herpes simplex include strengthening the body’s immune system, applying topical herbal formulas and supplementing the diet with nutrients such as lysine, polysaccharides, lactoferrin, and resveratol. These alternative therapies can be just as effective as prescription medications in suppressing the symptoms of herpes.
Sheldon Miller is a health researcher who has been studying natural remedies for herpes and other STDs for many years. He is a regular contributor to Herpes Treatment Guide . Learn about herpes symptoms and treatments on our site.