Herpes is an illness caused by the herpes simplex virus. The virus appears most often in the genital region (genital herpes) or around the mouth as a cold sore or fever blister. Once the herpes virus sets in, it does not go away and easily spreads to others. Symptoms of herpes include painful blisters, tingling, and sometimes a fever. Herpes is one of the most common STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) in the United States, affecting one in five people. The virus can spread through any type of sexual activity. Using the same surfaces as an infected person is not generally a problem, as the virus is unable to live very long outside of the body. Herpes can also be spread by a person who has no symptoms of the disease at all.

Arguably the worst part of herpes is the blisters. They are severely uncomfortable and not at all quick to go away. The first outbreak of the illness is typically the worse. Patients can go months or even years without having an outbreak. To reduce the chances of getting herpes, use protection during sexual activity. The virus is difficult to predict since it can be spread by mouth, as well.

Common Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Itching and tingling
  • Oozing blisters
  • Painful urination