Cold sores are extremely contagious, like all other herpes simplex viruses. It is harmful if you kiss someone with a cold sore because there is a high likelihood that the other person may become exposed to and infected by the virus.
We’ll describe in this article how cold sores can spread Herpes simplex virus-1 from one individual to another. We’ll also go through when it’s okay to kiss someone who has a cold sore, have oral sex with them, or engage in any other oral contact.
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What should you do when you kiss someone with a cold sore
The first thing to do when you kiss someone with a cold sore it to quickly wash the kissed area with soap and water. There is no assurance doing so can stop an infection. It doesn’t hurt to clean the area of contact anyway.
Next, keep a watchful eye out for any odd behavior or symptoms. Call your physician for more medical guidance. Seek medical assistance if you notice any unusual symptoms, as the herpes virus can produce a wide range of symptoms, including:
2. Blisters and rashes
5. Lack of appetite
The typical healing time for cold sores is one to two weeks. They will go through a predictable phase of healing, beginning as a little lip blister that grows into an open sore before covering itself with healing tissue.
There are eight stages to the development and healing of a cold sore, which have the potential for the virus to shed and transmit to other people.
These stages are:
First stage: The latent phase
The latent phase is the first stage of the cold sore. If you have the herpes virus at this stage, you won’t experience any symptoms because it is dormant in your body.
Even if you are symptom-free at this point, your body may still be exuding Herpes simplex virus-1 or Herpes simplex virus-2.
Second stage: The prodromal phase
People frequently report tingling on or near their lips at this time, as well as red skin in the affected area. For most people, this stage lasts one to two days.
You have the best chance of halting a herpes outbreak in its tracks during this stage.
Third stage: The inflammation phase
The inflammation phase is the third stage. If you didn’t take the necessary safeguards during the prodromal stage, the herpes virus now starts to target cells in the lips or mouth and start the process of developing a sore.
With swelling and pain in the affected area, this takes about a day.
Fourth stage: The pre-sore phase
One or more tiny, firm blisters will start to form on or near the lips for one to two days. These blisters can make eating, chewing, and moving the lips uncomfortable for the person who has them. They are frequently painful.
Fifth stage: The open herpes lesion phase
The fifth stage of the cold sore is the open herpes lesion phase. Here, the blister will erupt into an exposed sore at this time. Most cold sores are contagious for one to two days while they are still visible and open.
Sixth stage: The crusting phase
This is the development of a brown immunoglobulin crust that signals the body’s immune system to start aggressively healing the sore at this time. The crust typically turns into a scab after two to three days.
Seventh stage: The healing phase
The lesion is now entirely covered by a scab, and fresh skin is growing underneath. Normally, the scab lasts up to five days, during which the cold sore is still contagious.
Eighth stage: The post-scab phase
The post-scab phase is the eighth stage and last stage. The sore will have healed by this time, and the skin will start to look normal again. Some redness may still linger in the affected area for two to three days after the injury.
You shouldn’t kiss somebody, have oral sex, exchange eating utensils, or engage in any other oral contact while a cold sore is developing or healing simply because cold sores are contagious at all stages of the formation and healing process.
Contact with those who have the infection can transmit cold sores. Since cold sores are so common, the Herpes simplex virus-1 that produces them is already present in most people.
In reality, according to the majority of studies, Herpes simplex virus-1 is present in about 47.8% of all adults between the ages of 14 and 49.
Most people get Herpes simplex virus-1 without even being aware of it, frequently due to close physical contact with a partner, an accidental kiss from a family, or even touch with objects like dining utensils, razors, etc., can unintentionally spread the virus.
You may never get a cold sore, even if you already have Herpes simplex virus-1. This is because only a insignificant proportion of those with Herpes simplex virus -1 or Herpes simplex virus -2 infection have physical symptoms like cold sores or genital herpes.
Even if you’re reasonably confident that you or your spouse already have Herpes simplex virus -1, it’s still necessary to take precautions to stop cold sores from spreading.
It’s advisable to refrain from oral sex or to kiss until the scabs and sores have completely healed. This is because the herpes virus can still be shed during the healing of a cold sore, even if viral fluid is not present.
The chance of spreading cold sores to a partner or another person decreases the longer you wait following an eruption.
As always, it’s better to exercise patience and hold off on doing anything that could increase the risk of the virus spreading until the epidemic has subsided.
Shared towels, razors, and dining utensils could all spread cold sores. Due to the ease of transmission through contact with bodily fluids that are infected, cold sores are most contagious.
The infection can still spread even if you cannot see the sores. But because the virus is most contagious when blisters are still active, you should take extra care to avoid kissing anyone with them.
Without a doubt, you shouldn’t kiss someone who has a recent cold sore. It is advisable to simply refrain from kissing or engaging in oral sex until the sore or scab has completely healed because if you kiss someone with a cold sore, you’ll get infected.
The virus can keep shedding if a cold sore is not fully recovered. The longer you wait following an epidemic, the less likely you are to catch the virus or spread it to others.
Cold sores can be very troublesome, especially if they prevent you from having intimate relationships with your partner.
Unfortunately, they sometimes carry a social stigma that makes social gatherings like lunch with friends awkward and difficult.
You can utilize some very efficient drugs available on the market to quicken the healing process and cure cold sores when they erupt. Often, treating cold sores as soon as they appear can stop them from progressing all the way.
Cold sores can be treated with efficient antiviral medicines, which are often utilized.
Acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir are three antivirals that can lessen the frequency and intensity of outbreaks.
Are cold sores and genital herpes the same thing?
Although they are both caused by the same viruses, cold sores and genital herpes are not the same.
Sexual contact is the primary method of transmission for the Herpes simplex virus -2, which causes genital herpes. Herpes simplex virus -1, on the other hand, spreads via touch and creates cold sores. However, oral sex can be used to spread cold sores to the vaginal region.
Can you be immune to cold sores?
You cannot be immune to cold sores because there is neither a treatment for the virus nor a vaccination for it.
Some people are asymptomatic and may never show any signs of illness or develop cold sores even though they are infected with the virus.
How can you avoid getting a cold sore?
Although cold sores can’t always be avoided, understanding what causes outbreaks may help to lessen their frequency. Typical causes of cold sores include 1. Hormone adjustments 2. Absence of sleep 3. Skin damage 4. A lowered immunological response 5. Stress 6. Viral infection 7. Exposure to sunlight
Can ice treat cold sores?
Applying ice to the tingling or burning area for 5 to 10 minutes before the onset of a cold sore will reduce blood flow, which may lessen the pain and swelling.
When you notice a cold sore developing, how do you stop it?
A cold sore, unfortunately, won’t go away. But if you begin treatment early, you might be able to lessen both the length and severity of the condition.
Should a cold sore be kept moist or dry?
Whether to keep a cold sore moist, or dry is a matter of debate. Some medical professionals advise against using lotions or gels once a lesion occurs since cold sores can grow in damp settings.
They advise letting a cold sore dry up before administering fluids to keep it from splitting or cracking.
How to prevent a cold sore after kissing someone with one?
Request a daily antiviral from your doctor if you experience outbreaks frequently. The majority of cold sores heal on their own in approximately 10 days and don’t need treatment.
Oral antivirals on prescription, however, might lessen the length and severity of a cold sore as well as stop subsequent outbreaks.