Herpes is a virus that can be transmitted in different ways depending on the type of herpes. Herpes simplex is the type of herpes that causes cold sores. Genital herpes is a sexually-transmitted disease. What does herpes look like?
Oral herpes simplex causes sores on and around the lips on inside the mouth. Herpes simplex can appear to be a small fluid-filled blister. People usually acquire a herpes simplex infection during childhood or adolescence. The American Social Health Association (ASHA) estimates the over half of adult Americans have oral herpes. Once a person has acquired the virus, it remains in the person’s body though it may go long periods of time without causing any symptoms.
Genital herpes is also caused by the herpes simplex virus. Genital herpes also remains in the body after the person has gotten the virus. Though it is estimated that approximately twenty percent of people have genital herpes, many people with genital herpes do not know that they have it. A woman with genital herpes can spread the herpes to her infant during birth.
The people who have herpes and know of their infection may have noticed the blistering due to herpes. However, many people have herpes symptoms that are so mild that the herpes goes unnoticed. For some people with genital herpes, the symptom is a small blister that resembles a pimple or insect bite. It is suspected that many people mistake the herpes blister for a pimple. The herpes blister usually goes away, but often recurs.
Some people may develop a rash that is much more noticeable. The first outbreak of herpes that often occurs within two weeks after the person acquired the virus is usually the most severe. The first outbreak may cause a rash, pimple-like blisters, or lesions. The sores usually develop a scab and then heal within four weeks.
Some people also experience flu symptoms like fever, headache, and swollen glands. Some people experience painful urination. Some people have only minor symptoms during their first outbreak. The symptoms that people experience with herpes can vary a great deal.
The minor symptoms of herpes can be mistaken for jock itch, yeast infection, razor burn, pimples, insect bites, ingrown hair, or small abrasions. Though many people think that the sores from herpes occur only on the genitals, the sores from herpes can appear anywhere in the groin area including the buttocks and upper thigh.