There are 2 herpes simplex viruses – HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both generally cause multiple painful blisters that burst to leave shallow ulcers.
Lesions around the mouth and lips are often referred to as ‘cold sores’. Blisters on the penis and around the vulva or anus are usually called genital herpes. A swab can be taken to test for herpes if spots or ulcers are present.
During the first outbreak, people may feel generally unwell with fever, muscle aches and enlarged lymph glands. Herpes symptoms will settle without treatment after 2-4 weeks. However, the ulcers heal faster if anti-viral treatment is started early (e.g. aciclovir, valaciclovir).
Herpes recurrences are common. Some people notice a tingling or shooting sensation before the blisters appear – this is known as prodrome. Recurrences become less frequent over time, and episodes may be triggered by increased exposure to sunlight or stress.
The clinic is able to provide support and herpes prevention treatment if genital herpes recurrences become a problem. If you are showing herpes symptoms, please book an appointment to discuss treatment options.