Your new daily news source

Health >

Monday, October 25, 2021 at 9:00 AM

All Truths And Taboos About Herpes And How Long Does A Herpes Outbreak Last

Herpes has been documented in mankind from ancient Greek and Roman times until today. It causes no symptoms or mild symptoms that can be mistaken for another skin condition in many cases. It is primarily spread through contact with a lesion or the body fluids of an infected person. It is categorized into two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 usually causes sores around the mouth and lips, commonly referred to as fever blisters or cold sores. HSV-2 can cause genital herpes, but it commonly causes sores on the face and other areas above the waist.  


The herpes virus is notorious for its ability to hide and lay dormant in the body. Years after, a person has contracted the virus, and it could suddenly become active again and trigger another outbreak of blisters. The infection can be transmitted from one person to another through skin-to-skin contact. The herpes virus can lay dormant in your body for years, even decades after the initial outbreak. Then, with a little apparent warning, it can surface again in the form of an outbreak, with symptoms that are remarkably similar to those of your first attack.


Types of Herpes

Herpes is generally categorized into two forms: 

    - HSV-1: HSV-1 is one of two known viruses within the herpes virus genus that infect humans. It typically causes oral herpes, an infection of the mouth and lips commonly known as cold sores or fever blisters. HSV-1 may also cause genital herpes. This virus causes cold sores and genital sores, respectively. These infections are transmitted by close personal contact with a person who already has the infection.   


    - HSV-2: The second type is called herpes simplex type 2, or HSV-2. Most people have also been infected with HSV-2 at some point in their lives. Genital herpes or HSV-2 is a type of viral infection that causes genital ulcers or sores. It affects mainly the vulva, the vagina, cervix, and the penis. Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV) is probably the most common cause of genital herpes in many countries.  


The common question is, how long does a herpes outbreak last? It depends on how well your body is immune to the virus. Some people react strongly to herpes, while others react very little. That's why two people with herpes can have opposite experiences. The virus remains in the body forever, except in the case of viral shedding where you are actively having an outbreak. It is estimated that 24% of all primary HSV-2 infections are asymptomatic.


How long does a herpes outbreak last? 

The first outbreak usually starts within two weeks after getting infected and could be mistaken for a cold. Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to reduce the severity and duration of your outbreak. Once you have herpes, the virus may stay in your body for the rest of your life when the virus is dormant, i. e. when you don't have any signs or symptoms of an outbreak. It stays in a part of your spinal cord called the dorsal root ganglion.




There is a herpes cure, but there is no way to eliminate the herpes virus. However, understanding herpes outbreaks can help to ease symptoms and shorten the length of outbreaks. Most people with herpes don't realize that they're carrying the virus. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly one in eight people between 14 to 49 have genital herpes, often without symptoms or visible sores.