Herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both types can cause oral or genital herpes.
The stages of herpes can vary depending on the individual and the severity of the infection. However, here are the general stages of herpes:
- Primary infection: This is the initial stage of herpes. During this stage, the virus enters the body and begins to multiply. The symptoms of a primary infection may include flu-like symptoms, fever, swollen glands, and aching muscles. In the case of oral herpes, a person may also develop cold sores around the mouth.
- Latency: After the primary infection, the virus enters a dormant or inactive state in nerve cells. During this stage, a person may not experience any symptoms of herpes. However, the virus can become active again and cause recurrent infections.
- Recurrent infection: This is the stage when the virus becomes active again and causes recurrent outbreaks. The symptoms of a recurrent infection may include tingling, burning, or itching sensations in the affected area, followed by the development of blisters or sores. The sores can be painful and may take several days to heal.
It’s important to note that herpes is a chronic condition that cannot be cured. However, antiviral medications can help manage the symptoms and reduce the frequency of outbreaks.