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Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
A very important point when discussing the symptoms of herpes is that genital herpes comprises a vast spectrum of disease. This means that it may present very differently from one person to the next and even from one episode to another in the same individual. One can describe a « classical » or « typical » herpes outbreak as such : an initial tingling or prodromal sensation in the region affected, followed by the appearance of a slight redness and/or swelling at the site. This is rapidly (hours to days) followed by the development of small clustered vesicles (fluid-filled blisters) that are quite fragile, quickly breaking open to expose small punctate (punched-out appearance) ulcers or sores. These sores are sensitive or painful to touch. Within days these sores crust over via the development of a scab and then skin healing ensues. From beginning to end, a recurrence may last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. On average, most recurrences of genital herpes last 5-7 days.