Herpes is a complex skin infection that affects more than 3.7 billion people across the world. In America, there’s an estimate that one in five people get infected with the infection. Herpes is so common, but over 85 percent of affected people still don’t know about it. In most cases, this infection develops no symptoms at all. But when it does, the first outbreak is usually the worst. Here’s what you need to know about the first herpes outbreak and how to deal with it.
Some basics about herpes
Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It has two main types, including the virus type 1 (HSV1) and the virus type 2 (HSV2). While HSV1 can be to blame for oral herpes, HSV2 is considered to be a sexually transmitted infection. To this case, HSV2 is called genital herpes. Oral herpes is relatively different from genital herpes. It commonly occurs on the lips or around the mouth. Usually, people call it a cold sore or a fever blister.
HSV1 is more common than HSV2. But, HSV2 can be more contagious and it has been increasing recently. Also, it causes more severe symptoms and develops more outbreaks than HSV1 does. People with HSV2 usually suffer 4 to 5 outbreaks a year while that number could be 1 or 2 in those who have HSV1. As time goes on, the sufferers will have fewer outbreaks and some even stop them completely.
Herpes is incurable, but there are steps to manage and control it. If left untreated, the infection can weaken your immune system and make the virus spread.
How do you get herpes?
Herpes is highly contagious when an outbreak is active. The virus can enter your body through the skin or mucous membranes. You can get herpes from direct skin contact with someone who has visible symptoms. Kissing a person with oral herpes can make you become infected with HSV1. For HSV2, you can contract the virus from sexual intercourse. In fact, you’re likely to develop herpes if you’re at the following risks:
- You touch the herpes sore directly.
- You kiss someone who has oral herpes.
- You share cups, lipsticks, or eating utensils with a person who has herpes.
- You have unprotected sex with an infected partner.
- You have sex with a partner who has multiple sex partners.
- You have multiple sex partners and you don’t know if they are clean.
After the first outbreak, HSV will lie dormant deep inside your body. When acquiring convenient conditions, it wakes up and causes another outbreak. Consistent outbreaks of herpes may occur due to the following reasons.
- High stress.
- Wind and cold weather.
- Weak immune system.
- Hormonal changes.
When does the first herpes outbreak occur?
Some people with herpes have never had an outbreak. This is completely normal because the virus does not always present symptoms. Herpes can remain for months or even years after you’ve come into contact with the virus. But usually, the first outbreak will occur 2 weeks after exposure.
Herpes infects people differently. Some develop symptoms during the first 24 hours of contact. Some begin within weeks, months or even a couple of years later. This depends on each individual’s condition. So for the question, how soon will you develop your first herpes outbreak? There is no absolutely certain answer.
What are the symptoms of the first herpes outbreak?
During the first outbreak of herpes, you may notice some signs and symptoms below:
- Abnormal pain, itching, tingling and swelling in the affected area. These symptoms usually appear during the first 24 hours. They can also be accompanied by a fever, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes.
- Headaches, fever, muscle-aches, loss of appetite, swelling of lymph nodes and flu-like symptoms. They are prodromal symptoms, which can show that an outbreak is coming. These symptoms can last hours or days.
- Blisters occur. These blisters can be red, inflamed and painful. Usually, they last for several days, then dry up, form scab and heal without leaving scars.
The first outbreak of herpes is the most severe. It can last for 2 to 6 weeks and then go away on its own. But you can use medications to relieve symptoms and shorten the duration of an outbreak.
How to manage your first outbreak of herpes?
There is no cure for herpes, but prescription drugs can help curb the outbreak. These drugs are Acyclovir or Valocyclovir. The sooner you use it, the more likely you are to control the infection.
Applying anti-viral ointments and creams promptly can also be helpful. ProsurX is one of the best antiviral topical creams for treating herpes. This solution contains all natural FDA-approved ingredients, providing users with peace of mind. With antiviral nanoparticles, it can work 5 times faster than other traditional creams. Many people with herpes have used ProsurX and experienced the following benefits:
- Decrease the severity of symptoms.
- Reduce the chances of future outbreaks.
- Limit the chances of complications.
- Speed up the recovery.
A few more self-care tips below can also help with your first herpes outbreak.
- Apply cold compresses. This help reduce the burning, itching and inflammation of the affected area.
- Wash the sores with warm water. This help ease the discomfort.
- Avoid touching the sores.
- Use 2 different towels: one for your genitals and one for the rest of your body. Wash the towel after each use.
- Wear loose-fitting cotton underwear.
- Consider supplements or herbal approaches.
- Avoid the risk factors.
Related: Herbal Teas Prevent Herpes Outbreaks
For most patients, the first outbreak of herpes is the worst and most painful. If you’re in this situation, get immediate treatment. Also, keep your immune system strong, eat healthy and avoid herpes triggers. If your infection persists or becomes more severe, consult your doctor for help.