What are the Most Common Herpes Symptoms?

Genital herpes can affect any part of the genitals including the testicles and penis.
Herpes simplex 1 causes sores to form on the lips and area around the mouth.
A water blister caused by herpes type 1.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Herpes symptoms are fairly easy to recognize when people know what they’re looking for. There is some difference in expression of symptoms depending on type of herpes, or where the herpes infected the skin. People with genital herpes can get herpes symptoms on the face, or those with oral herpes may get herpes blisters on the genitals. With this in mind, it’s simply important to determine how herpes looks and feels when it appears on the face or the genitals.

Oral herpes symptoms may begin, especially the first time with flulike symptoms that could include a mild fever, achiness, and swelling of some of the lymph nodes. These symptoms don’t always repeat in subsequent expressions of the illness. Most often people might note a tingling or itching sensation usually in one specific area around the mouth or under the nose. In a few days, a red bump develops which can get covered with tiny blisters; these ultimately break or weep, and then crust over. The sore may feel painful or uncomfortable until the scabbing has healed.

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Genital herpes symptoms may be slightly different, but they also may begin with fever, achiness and swollen lymph nodes, especially in the groin, and particularly during a first herpes outbreak. Any part of the genitals could be affected, and the herpes could occur inside or outside of the vagina, the anus, on the testicles, the buttocks, or on the penis. Sometimes infections occur in the groin or thigh area and are misdiagnosed as jock itch.

Like herpes on the face, herpes on the genitals usually start with the tingling sensation where the infection will break out. Those who have this condition and know it are strongly advised to pay attention to this symptom. It heralds an outbreak and means most people are contagious during this time.

After the tingling sensation passes, people might notice a clustering of blisters, which will ultimately weep, break, and scab over. The first few outbreaks a person gets may cause very painful blistering, and as people have the condition for longer, outbreaks may be less painful, though they’ll still be noticeable. Number of outbreaks is unpredictable. Some people have them frequently and others have very few.

One of the most important herpes symptoms that bears mention is that of contagiousness. At all times that lesions are present, people should avoid skin-to-skin contact with others. There is growing evidence that people who have this condition may be contagious at all times. Medications like Zovirax® can help lessen frequency of outbreaks and may help in preventing spread of the disease at all times.

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Discuss this Article

turquoise
Post 3

Aside from itching, blisters and pain while urinating, fatigue is another common symptom of herpes. When the virus becomes activated, the immune system starts fighting it. That's why flu like symptoms can emerge, because the body is fighting a virus just as in the case of flu.

Fatigue is one of the first symptoms I experience before an outbreak. It develops along with the itching and tingling.

ZipLine
Post 2

@candyquilt-- Fever is a common herpes symptom but this does not mean that everyone will experience it. Those with mild herpes may never experience fever. In fact, it is possible for someone infected with herpes to not experience any symptoms for a very long time. The virus can behave differently in different individuals. It has to do with an individual's immune system and how the body responds to the virus. So the virus may remain inactive for some time. Or it may cause few and mild symptoms that are barely noticeable.

So it's good to know about the common symptoms but realize that symptoms alone are not indicative of a herpes infection. A blood test is the only way to diagnose it.

candyquilt
Post 1

Is fever a very common herpes symptom? I don't recall ever having a fever.

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