What Does Herpes Look Like

Posted by in Herpes Facts, Herpes Q&A

What Does Herpes Look Like

There are two types of Herpes, namely, the Herpes Simplex 1, known as Cold Sores and the Herpes Simplex 2, known as Genital Herpes. Both the types of herpes go through similar stages. The Herpes lesions go through 4 typical stages.

Prodrome

This is the stage that occurs a few days before the outbreak of the virus. Many people suffering from the condition experience these symptoms. This stage is characterized by itching sensations. The person might also feel a tingling or burning sensation that might sometimes be painful. These feelings occur in the area where the lesions will appear in a few days time. The area also shows mild swelling or redness. A Prodrome is more of a warning that occurs before the symptoms of the infection start occurring. It tells you that the virus has left its latent position near the spine base and has now come under the skin.

Herpes on Lips

Typical Herpes on Lips

Blisters

This is the second stage of the herpes outbreak. The lesions usually begin to appear in the form of small bumps or blisters. These are filled with fluid and the base appears red. Many people mistake these for common pimples, insect bites or yeast infections, so this explains why 90% of those with Herpes are not aware of the condition. When the person is infected for the first time, or during the primary infection, the blisters come in clusters and appear on both the sides of the body. However, during the recurring outbreaks or the subsequent episodes, the number of lesions is reduced and they start appearing on only one side of the body.

Herpes Blisters

Herpes Blisters

Crusts

This is the third stage of the Herpes outbreak. After the blisters remain on the skin for a few days, two to three days, they form crusts or ulcers. These are scabs that are granular and yellow in color. Most people find such lesions on the lip border and in the groin. The lesions that are formed on the mucous membranes do not form effective crusts. Instead, these turn into pink ulcers, with the surface tissue layer being absent. These crusts or ulcers are usually very painful. This is the time or stage when the virus is shed at the maximum concentration.

Typical Herpes on Lips

Typical Herpes on Lips

Healing

The crusts or the ulcers are slowly replaced by healthy tissue or new tissue. Healing first starts on the outside and then slowly moves towards the inside portions. In case of a primary infection, the healing process will take a long time, such as five to six weeks. However, in case of recurring outbreaks, the lesions usually heal within a matter of seven days. This is because of the presence of antibodies in the recurring outbreaks. They speed up the process of healing. The lesions generally do not leave any scars behind. However, in some cases, there are secondary bacterial infections that lead to scars.

Typical Herpes on Lips

Typical Herpes on Lips

In order to heal the various stages of the outbreak, the person has to be patient. It will have to take its course. It is better not to indulge in sexual contact or kissing during these stages, unless the partner is also Herpes positive.