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Herpes Simplex and What It Does To Your Body

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The herpes simplex virus is a very common type of sexually transmitted disease (STD). It can be a chronic condition with the risk of recurrence even after treatment. The viral infection usually manifests around the mouth, which is called oral herpes, and on the genitals, a condition called genital herpes. The early stage of the infection is usually undetected when it does not produce any symptoms. While the outbreaks are very common in these areas, sores can also occur almost anywhere on the skin. Herpes simplex are of two types, namely type 1 and type 2. They are highly contagious and one can easily get the infection upon direct contact with someone who is infected. The type 1 herpes simplex is usually the cause of the oral herpes, while genital herpes is caused by type 2 herpes simplex infection. The infection is transmissible by direct contact and 8 out of 10 individuals who are affected by the disease are unaware that they are infected.

What happens to your body when you have oral herpes

When the infection affects the mouth, it is common to find sores and blisters along the lips and around the mouth. They can also appear inside the mouth, but usually manifests during the initial outbreak of the symptoms for the first time the infection occurs. The blisters and sores are very painful and may last for a few weeks, usually 2 to 3 weeks. However, there is a big chance of recurrence even after treatment. The infection may occur again after months or years and sometime within just weeks after they are gone. You will find the symptoms to be annoying, especially when you find it difficult to eat or move the mouth without feeling the pain from the sores. Outbreaks can also extend to the face.

What happens to your body when you have genital herpes

Genital herpes tends to be more chronic than its oral counterparts. The symptoms can last up to 6 weeks and there is a tendency for recurrence of about 4 to 5 times within the first two years. Afterwards, the outbreaks can become less severe and sometimes less frequent. During the initial period of the infection, no symptoms are experienced. Later outbreaks cause the formation of blistery sores on the vagina, within the penile area, cervix, vulva, anal area and the buttocks. The sores will cause a burning sensation, especially during urination, itching and pain. In severe cases, painful urination occurs when the symptoms occur the urethra.

herpes simplex

Symptoms affecting the body in general

During the initial outbreaks of the symptoms, one will usually experience itching, tingling or burning sensation to the skin where the blister or sore is about to appear. Once the blister appears on the skin, it will break open and will ooze with a fluid that will later on form a crust prior to healing. The sores usually appear between 2 or 20 days after contracting the infection and it may last up to 10 days. It is also possible for the virus to cause other symptoms to the body such as the following:

  • Painful urination
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Herpes keratitis (an eye infection)
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Headache

Getting relief from the herpes simplex symptoms

To get relief from the annoying symptoms of herpes infection, you need to take certain medications that will help hasten the healing process of the sores and blisters. Warm baths are effective in giving relief to pain, while a cold compress can relieve soreness and itching. Pain and fevers can be managed by taking acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen. Antiviral medications are effective for both types of herpes infection and can reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Herpes can be a highly infectious condition. Learn how to get rid of herpes and its annoying symptoms fast. Click here!


  1. Get rid of Herpes
  2. NHS Choices
  3. American Academy of Dermatology