Symptoms of Herpes on the Face


Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), or herpes, is an incurable, infectious virus carried by thousands of adults and children that typically is spread through sexual contact. HSV-1 is one type of herpes and it affects the skin and upper body, particularly the area in or around the mouth or other parts of the face. Although not always recognized–or present–there are symptoms of facial herpes that will signal HSV infection.


Symptoms of facial herpes can cause reactions not only on facial skin but in or around the eye, nose and mouth. General symptoms include fever, sore mouth or throat, painful blisters, lesions or sores, swollen glands and neck pain. Sufferers may also feel as though they have the flu.


During an outbreak, HSV-1 infected individuals experience areas of swelling on the face, followed by the presence of painful blisters on the nose or lips. These blisters will cluster together and then burst leaving open sores full of pus, which will eventually dry out and become crusty. They typically heal within three weeks.


Herpes Keratitis, or Eye Herpes, can result from HSV-1 if an infected person touches an open sore and then rubs her eye. Symptoms include impaired or blurred vision, cornea tearing, light sensitivity and pain or redness in eyes.


Oral Herpes results in blisters on the lips or tongue that eventually rupture and heal. Symptoms can include increased saliva production and bad breath. Although not common, you may also experience difficulty in swallowing, hearing loss, muscle pain and chills.

Expert Insight

After infection and HSV has entered the body, the virus travels along nerve pathways to the inner ear where it will remain for life, causing–in many cases–reoccurring outbreaks of symptoms that can only be treated, not cured.


Infections are most severe after blisters have burst and left open sores containing fluid or pus. Touching these open wounds can cause spreading of the infection to other parts of your face or to others with whom you relate.


Although incurable, it is possible to control herpes outbreaks and the accompanying symptoms in the following ways: take medications as prescribed by your doctor, avoid touching or irritation sores and wash your hands frequently if you do touch them, avoid kissing or oral sex when sores are present, eat a healthy diet and get enough rest and exercise.

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