Herpes Outbreak Cycles
Herpes is a very common sexually transmitted disease. In fact, one in six people in the United States between the ages of 14 and 49 are infected with herpes. There are two types of herpes, which are Herpes Simplex 1, which is generally cold sores, and Herpes Simplex 2, which is often genital herpes.
Herpes comes in outbreak cycles. So, just because you do not see sores on your mouth or around the genitals, you can still have the virus. So, what happens during an outbreak and how often will you have one? Let’s break it all down.
Stages of Herpes Outbreak
During the beginning of a herpes outbreak, your body will often give off a warning that the virus is on its way to the skin’s surface. During this stage you will experience pain under the skin and itching or tingling of the skin. If this is your first outbreak, you may experience more painful symptoms, and during this stage you can have flu-like symptoms.
Next, you will see some redness on the skin, followed by small blisters. These are the first signs of herpes sores. During this stage, you are highly contagious and the virus is in full reproduction mode. You will then experience swelling in which the blisters can get very red and irritated. This can occur with both oral herpes and genital herpes.
After this stage, you will experience wet ulcers, in which the blisters will start popping and releasing liquids. During an outbreak you want to avoid sexual contact or kissing. However, through the liquids that are released the virus can be passed.
Following the popping of the blisters, you will experience scabs. During this time you should not pick at the scabs or you can run the risk of having scars. Once the scabs fall off, the skin will have healed. This can take up to seven days to heal.
During a herpes outbreak, the virus may travel to the skins surface, but might not break out into sores. Your body will be releasing the virus through the shedding of your skin, even if you cannot see it. This can cause you to pass the virus even if you do not realize you are doing it. In fact, 70% of genital herpes infections are passed through asymptomatic shedding.
What to do During a Herpes Outbreak
If you are having a herpes outbreak, it can take 10 to 12 days for the cycle to pass. During this time you should not engage in sexual contact or even kissing, as you can infect your partner. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do during an outbreak cycle. You have to be patient. However, your doctor should prescribe you medication that can help you during a herpes outbreak. This medication should help any itching or pain you might experience.
What if you think you have Herpes?
If you believe you have come in contact with the herpes virus, the best thing you can do is speak to a doctor and get tested. The doctor will be able to determine if you have the virus. He or she will also be able to look at any oral or genital sores to determine. If you do have herpes, the doctor will give you the proper medication that can be used during an outbreak cycle. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this virus.
Prior to having sex you should ask your partner if he or she is infected with herpes or another STD, and when the last time he or she was tested. If your partner has herpes, you should have protected sex using a condom. If you have herpes you might consider dating within the herpes community so you no longer have to worry about passing it to a partner.
During an outbreak you should refrain from sexual contact. If you do not get treatment for herpes, you run the risk of spreading it to other parts of your body. For example, if you touch a sore or the fluid from a sore and touch your eye, you might transfer the virus.
As previously mentioned, herpes is one of the leading sexually transmitted infections. It can affect the genitals or the mouth and face area. If you have any questions or concerns, you should speak with a doctor immediately.