The first signs of herpes are not usually obvious ones. Much as you might wish that there are clear and obvious signs that an outbreak is beginning, odds are good that you will need to be closely attuned to your body to recognize a break early on.
It is difficult to describe the telltale signs of herpes during the initial stage because people have so many varying experiences, but the first stage is when your body is shedding the herpes virus; this is the time when you become the most contagious. It is a two to three day period of time when you will have mild symptoms that you will come to recognize as the warning signs that an outbreak is starting. It is important that you learn to identify your specific symptoms.
Remember, you can have a herpes outbreak on your buttocks, around your anus, in your groin area and on or inside your genitals. You may experience any or all of the following first signs of herpes:
You may feel like something is bothering you in your nether regions, although you may not understand why. You may think it is tight underwear or some sort of chafing. Some people experience this as a tingling that is not really uncomfortable, just unusual.
While itching can be the result of many factors-waxing, shaving, a yeast infection, a fungal infection such as jock itch, crabs, or just plain using a soap or laundry detergent that bothers your sensitive genital area-it can also be the sign of a herpes outbreak.
You might notice a slight swelling. If you don't have another explanation for this, you should keep an eye on it. Ice packs can help with giving you relief.
Some people experience a burning sensation that can be relieved with ice packs.
You may get a low-grade fever or just feel hot then cold. Many people liken this to feeling like they are fighting off the flu.
You may have muscle aches throughout your body. Even though this is an STD and therefore associated with your reproductive system, the virus can affect how you feel all over.
You may feel exhausted and kind of crabby because you are so fatigued. Try to get extra sleep for these couple of days.
What Should You Do?
Most people who have herpes only experience this stage, and nothing more. This is why the disease has spread so widely; many people do not realize they are having a herpes outbreak, so they are sexually active while the virus is shedding and they pass the disease on to their sexual partner without meaning to do so. You may progress through the next three stages and develop blisters that will erupt into sores and then crust over, forming scabs. However, you may not experience the other stages, so you may just want to head to a clinic for a quick herpes test. Your doctor can give you a formal diagnosis off a blood test; then you'll know if you need to think about this at all. It's important to find out if you have herpes or not so you can alert sexual partners.
How do you know if you have herpes? Many people have herpes and don't know it because they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are so mild that they don't know they have the disease. If you think you may have herpes, you should watch carefully for these signs.
Herpes is widespread and needs to come out of the closet and into the national conversation.