The first episode is normally referred to as a ‘primary’ episode and is usually quite a severe herpes outbreaks and may present with a general feeling of being unwell with fever and swollen lympth nodes, with blisters and inflammation present at the site of infection that may scab the affected area and heal over a few weeks, with a potential burning sensation when passing urine.

In most people, the symptoms are usually mild or non-present to the point that they may not even know that they have it. Symptoms may be noticed within a few days or weeks after initial contact but some individuals might not have an initial outbreak of symptoms until a few months or years after becoming infected.

It is important to note that after a primary episode, the herpes simplex virus (HSV) will remain dormant in your body and may reactivate to cause recurrences of the virus in the future.

Before a recurrence presents itself, some people will get an itching, tingling or painful sensation in the area before blisters or sores develop. The symptoms are usually less severe than your first episode and the virus may sometimes reactivate without any symptoms at all.

Any of the following symptoms of herpes may be experienced with a temporary weakening of the immune system:

  • Flu like symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue
  • Itching or tingling sensation around the infected region
  • Cracked or red areas around the infection region without itching or tingling
  • Small blisters that pop and develop into painful sores
  • Painful, burning sensation when passing urine
  • Headaches & backaches

Although all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it should not be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please speak to your doctor.

Authored Dec 22, 2017 by Joseph Issac, MPharm
Reviewed Mar 23, 2021 by Prabjeet Saundh, MPharm

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