Not everything that looks like herpes is actually herpes. Rather, there are numerous conditions which can resemble the symptoms of herpes, making people misinterpret it and mistake it with something else. Basically, jock itch, ingrown hairs, pimples and many other conditions may appear as herpes, even though they have nothing to do with this kind of infection.
Herpes or No Herpes?
The best step to take, when you are in doubt about herpes, is to ask your doctor for an opinion, especially if the symptoms you are experiencing linger for a longer period of time. Note that signs of herpes can vary since there are numerous types of this virus.
First of all, ask yourself whether the symptoms come and go. Namely, herpes appears on the skin for a short while, before subsiding and residing inside the body, allowing the skin to heal before the next outbreak.
If herpes affects the genital area, the outbreak lasts for 3 days to two weeks. Cold sores, on the other hand, appear on the mouth or the nose area and lasts from 8 to 12 days. Thus, if any symptoms you are facing last for more than the above mentioned timespan, you are probably suffering from something else.
Other Facts about Herpes
Often, but not always, herpes outbreak evolves from blisters into sores or open skin/mucous lesions. However, many people go through their herpes infection without a single visible symptom. Again, here, the best option is to seek medical assistance, whenever in doubt.
As far as other conditions commonly mistaken for herpes are concerned, there are quite a few. Canker sores resemble herpes, even though any connections between the two are non-existent. These sores are gray, appearing inside the mouth healing in two weeks, without treatment. Also, bacterial infections and yeast infections tend to result in similar signs, but without the appearance of blisters.
If bacterial or yeast infections are the case, vaginal discharge is possibly present, along with burning in the genital area and pain during urination. If males are infected by yeast or bacteria, they usually experience burning and rash in the genital area without typical herpes blisters.
Impetigo appears in children, manifesting through blisters covered in crusts, while syphilis appears through blister clusters. Both of these condition are also mistaken for herpes. Furthermore, any lesions appearing on the affected skin, with dimples in the center are a sign of molliscum contagiosum, a viral infection similar to herpes.
Finally, genital warts, being growths on the skin, resembling cauliflower masses, add on to the lists of possible herpes-like appearances.