By: Connie Masak, APNP

The initial outbreak of Herpes:
• Symptoms of the initial outbreak are usually the most severe
• Outbreaks become milder after the body has produced antibodies. After several years a person may experience fewer outbreaks or no outbreaks at all
• The antibodies that attack the virus during a specific outbreak do not eliminate the virus completely, which is why once Herpes is contracted, a person has it for life
• Most people develop symptoms within 2 – 12 days after exposure, but it can take weeks, months, or even years for any symptoms to appear
• The amount of time it takes symptoms to appear and the severity of those symptoms vary greatly from person to person. Some people have mild symptoms and do not even realize that they are having an outbreak of Herpes. Because of this, it may be difficult to know when and from whom the infection came from

• It is possible to have a Herpes infection without symptoms
• Flu-like symptoms including muscle aches and pain
• The skin in the affected area may feel swollen, raw, painful, and itchy
• Lymph nodes in the groin may be swollen
• Vaginal discharge may occur
• Fluid-filled blisters may appear on the genitals, mouth, thighs, buttocks, or around the anus

Stages of sore development:
• Early redness may be seen in a small area of the skin. This area may be sensitive, itchy, or painful to the touch
• Small area of swelling which may or may not be noticed
• Small blisters filled with a clear fluid form on top of the area that had early redness and swelling. The number of blisters may vary
• Wet ulcers appear when the tops of the blisters come off. They may look like red, swollen areas or even small cuts. These ulcerated areas may feel tender and raw. The number and size of these ulcerations may vary
• Dry crust (scab) forms over the wet ulcer as the sore begins to heal. The crust hardens as the sore dries and new skin grows underneath the scab.

Healing is complete when the scab falls off.

Initial treatment:
• Acyclovir 400 mg 3x/day for 7 – 10 days OR
• Valtrex 1 gm 2x/day for 7 – 10 days OR
• Famciclovir 250 mg 3x/day for 7 – 10 days

Treatment can be extended if healing is incomplete after 10 days of treatment.

As we observe STD Awareness Month, we encourage everyone to take proactive steps toward prioritizing their sexual health. If you have concerns about STDs or are due for testing, we invite you to schedule an appointment with Women’s Health Specialists. Our compassionate and knowledgeable providers can offer guidance, support, and testing options to help ensure your sexual health and well-being. Don’t wait – take charge of your health today. Schedule your appointment today! Schedule on our website or call us at (920) 749-4000.