Someone dealing with the first sign of herpes laying in bed with the blanket pulled over their face.
Herpes & Cold Sores

What Does the First Sign of Herpes Look Like?

By Lizzie De La Cruz
Herpes is incredibly common, but it can still be worrying. The signs and symptoms might vary between different people, but there are some similarities. Some people may experience symptoms so mild they may not even realize that they have it. Others have severe symptoms. The first signs of herpes develop within the first two weeks of infection. Let’s take a look at what the first signs of herpes looks like, and the herpes medications that can help.
There are two kinds of herpes: oral and genital. Both are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are highly contagious. Both are spread through direct contact with the virus. In order to stop spreading it, it is important to recognize the signs. There is not yet a cure for either form of herpes, but herpes medications can reduce the symptoms to prevent the outbreaks.
Oral herpes first presents as cold sores or blisters around the mouth. Any contact with the sores can transfer the virus to others. In fact, most people are exposed to oral herpes as children, via kisses from family friends and relatives. Oral herpes can also be sexually transmitted via oral sex  and cause genital outbreaks. Genital herpes can spread to the mouth in the same way.

What is the first sign that you might have genital herpes?

The obvious first sign is the grouping of blisters that appears. The blisters can appear on the genitals, the vulva or cervix, the penis and testicles, or around the anus and thigh area. These blisters may be itchy and uncomfortable, and if they break, they will cause pain in the genitals and painful urination. 
Another sign of a herpes outbreak is the feeling that you might have the flu. You might have swollen glands, a headache, general aches and pains, and tiredness, especially during your very first outbreak.
Herpes outbreaks may be frequent or not, and they may be mild or severe. Those who have had outbreaks before know an outbreak is coming on when they feel a telltale itchiness and tingling. Some don’t take herpes medication until they feel the signs of a coming outbreak, but others might take their herpes medications daily to prevent outbreaks or make them less likely.
There is no cure for herpes, although many patients can go months or years between outbreaks with proper herpes medication. Once an outbreak occurs and goes away, it will likely recur at some point. Patients notice tingling, itching, and pain that signals a coming outbreak. Once someone learns to recognize these signs, they can take herpes medications when they are needed.

If there is no cure, how can herpes medications help?

Herpes is a virus. Oral herpes is from the herpes simplex virus Type 1, and genital herpes is HSV type. Antibiotics cannot treat viruses, and that is why there is no cure. That does not mean there is no treatment. Herpes medications, such as Valacyclovir and Acyclovir, can be prescribed by a doctor to reduce the severity of symptoms and prevent the next outbreak. Herpes medications include both pills and topical creams. These medications are very effective in pill form, but the creams help, too, especially when they are taken together. 
Learn more about herpes medications and how wisp can help you use them most effectively.

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