Herpes Simplex Signs & Symptoms

herpes on lipsHerpes is a very common virus, and people who get the virus that causes herpes may not even know it because they do not experience any of the typical signs and symptoms ! They may never experience any of the common tell-tale signs commonly associated with herpes. When there is an outbreak, generally the FIRST outbreak is the worst, with recurring outbreaks tending to me more mild and, with time, less frequent.

Here are some  common visible signs and symptoms (what you feel) that a person may experience associated with herpes, including:


  • A Tingling, itching or burning sensation. Before you can actually see any blisters, the skin may tingle, itch, or burn for a day or longer.
  • Blisters and Sores. Although not always, often one or more painful, fluid-filled blisters may appear. These blisters may break open and will often ooze fluid and form a crust, before beginning to heal. The first time any sores appear, they will show up within 20 days of contact with an infected person and can last between 7 to 10 days. The sores will be visible in generally, but not always, in 2 different areas of the body. Sores and blisters associated with HSV-1, or “Oral Herpes”, typically appear on the lips or around the mouth and, although less commonly, anywhere on the face or even the tongue. However, it is important to know that although these are the most common places to find oral herpes, the sores can appear anywhere on the skin. Sores and blisters associated with HSV-2, or “Genital Herpes”,  typically occur on the penis, around or inside the vagina, buttocks, or anus. However, just like with oral herpes, sores and blisters associated with HSV-2 can appear anywhere on the skin.


  • Flu-like symptoms. Although not as quickly associated with herpes, other symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, or swollen lymph nodes in the neck or groin.
  • Problems with urination. People (most often women) with genital herpes may also experience a painful, burning sensation while urinating.
  • Infection of the eye (herpes keratitis).  The herpes simplex virus can also sometimes spread to one or both eyes, which can cause pain, light sensitivity, a “gritty” feeling in the eye and/or fluid discharge. If you notice believe you may have herpes and notice these symptoms seek medical attention because, without prompt treatment, scarring of the eye may result that can lead to cloudy vision or even a loss of vision.

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