The first sign of herpes can be usually noticed within 2 to 20 days after the contact with the virus. However, at times symptoms might take longer to manifest themselves. Depending from one person to another, these symptoms may last up to several weeks or more. The signs and symptoms of herpes are so mild that they often go unseen. This is usually true the first few times. In some people, the first occurrence is the worst as the area is usually painful and may itch, burn or tingle. They might never experience the second occurrence and for a few the occurrences can be seen even after years of the first sign.
Small, red bumps, blisters (vesicles) or open sores (ulcers) in the genital, anal and nearby areas are a few signs of genital herpes. In some, the first attack causes visible sores. After the sores are completely healed, the active phase of infection is over. This healing of the skin usually leaves no scars. In either case, the virus withdraws into the nervous system and lies dormant. This virus tends to proliferates when it gets into the skin cells, leaving the skin red and sensitive, which gives rise to one or more blisters or bumps. These blisters first open, and then heal as new skin tissues are formed. Flu-like symptoms, swollen glands, headache, muscle ache or fever are also common. Herpes may also infect the urethra, and urinating may cause a burning sensation.