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Does Herpes Itch?

Does Herpes Itch?

Herpes is an infection that is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2. It is characterized by skin eruptions and symptoms such as redness, itching or a burning sensation. How long does herpes itch? Let's find out.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Exposure to the herpes simplex virus (HSV) can cause herpes inside mouth or the genitals. Oral herpes and genital herpes are caused by exposure to HSV-1 and HSV-2 respectively. Herpes is a highly contagious disease that can spread very fast. Herpes tends to spread by direct skin to skin contact like touching, kissing and sexual contact. A woman with genital herpes can transfer the virus during childbirth to her baby.
Herpes and Itching
Does herpes itch all the time? Herpes is characterized by development of lesions or fluid-filled blisters that itch. One experiences a burning sensation on their skin. The affected area feels hot to touch and becomes red in color. Once the pathogen gains entry into your body, it lies in a dormant state in the body forever. If the immune system becomes weak, the virus may become active and this may cause recurring infections.
In case of oral herpes, symptoms such as burning sensation, itching, pain or tingling sensation may be felt before the lesions appear at the site of infection, which is the mouth. Similarly, in the initial phase of genital herpes, one may experience severe itching, burning and tingling near the genital area. One may even observe soreness in legs, groin and buttock area. These fluid-filled blisters crust over. These scab and heal in two to three weeks. The symptoms may resolve sooner in case of timely treatment, and also if the immune system of the affected individual is stronger.
Symptoms That May Accompany Itching
Other symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph glands in the affected area
  • Muscle ache
  • Malaise
  • Flu-like symptoms
Treatment Options
The treatment usually involves the use of topical anesthetic and anti-viral drugs such as acyclovir, valacyclovir or famciclovir. You can also try some herbal remedies to reduce the severe itching and burning during the initial phases of genital herpes. These include salt baths, where you bath in warm water added with Epsom salt. You may feel some discomfort or a stinging sensation initially, but it will soon fade away. It proves to be very helpful in speeding up the healing process.
You can even try other options, like tea tree oil, which is a very powerful antiseptic. You can apply a bit of tea tree oil on areas that itch and burn. It will help in reducing the itching to a great extent. And if you have no tea tree oil at home, you can always use an ice pack. This can be applied for about 10 minutes twice a day. This will really help in reducing the terrible itch and burning sensation.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.