Oral Herpes: Are Cold Sores Contagious?
Yes, Oral Herpes is contagious. It is caused by the virus
Herpes Simplex 1 and sometimes
by Herpes Simplex 2 which which is more often the cause of
Oral Herpes is contagious via skin contact from the affected area,
typically kissing. Children usually get it from relatives. as it is highly contagious during an outbreak but so many people have it and don't recognize the symptoms for what they are.
Once you've caught the Herpes Simplex virus, it's for life. This
also means that it it potentially contagious for life, but the
virus is latent most of the time and the outbreak is not
dangerous. The worst effect of Herpes Simplex for many people is
the social-psychological strain experienced from the symptoms if the outbreaks are severe.
The outbreak of Oral Herpes is also known as
cold sores. It has nothing to do with a cold but is nearly
as common. It is a rash that turns into blisters
which then turn into a dry scab. The symptoms generally last less than
Care and Prevention of Cold Sores
Unfortunately Herpes Simplex is also contagious outside
of the outbreak period. It is contagious:
- In the period just before an outbreak, where many people feel a tingling, itching or irritation
- In the viral shedding period
There is no particular pattern to trigger an outbreak but
there does seem to be a correlation between a low immune defense
system and cold sore outbreaks. Leading a healthy lifestyle should keep outbreaks
at a minimum.
Treatment of Oral Herpes - cold sores
You can treat the Oral Herpes symptoms with creams containing
antiviral agents. They are:
The most popular brands are available at pharmacies. They are:
Although the creams can effectively reduce both the frequency and severity
of outbreaks, care should be taken to minimize both passing the virus to
others and prolonging outbreaks:
- Wash your hands regularly
- Avoid touching the effected area
- Do not kiss, or engage in sexual activity
- Use cotton buds to apply treatment and do not dip the bud in the cream
more than once
Often, cold sore suffers will feel a tingling, itchy sensation prior to a
visible outbreak. This is the best time to start applying treatment and many
find that an outbreak can be avoided with swift action.
- The Herpes treatment page
- What is Herpes Simplex?
- Cold sore symptoms
- Preventing cold sore outbreaks
- Should you see a doctor for cold sores?
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