One of the most important things to realize when someone has a cold sore is that it’s very contagious. So contagious, in fact, that you can even catch the virus from kissing someone.
Everything from sharing food or utensils, to direct physical contact with a cold sore can make you prone to getting one yourself. Are cold sores contagious through kissing? Yes, and for that reason, it’s important to know the signs of a cold sore, even from the start. It doesn’t have to be physically present or scabbed over for the virus to be contagious.
This article will cover just how contagious this virus can be. If you’re dating someone with the virus, you probably want to know when it’s safe to kiss them again, or what precautions you can take to avoid getting one yourself.
Unfortunately, the herpes virus may be already in you, even if you’ve never experienced a fever blister. Just because you haven’t yet, doesn’t mean you are immune. It’s important to be prepared and cautious around anyone with a cold sore. If you want to heal faster (or help a partner to be cold sore free), use the Virulite cold sore machine. It’s FDA approved and can clear up cold sores in as little as 72 hours.
How Is the Oral Herpes Virus Spread?
Cold sores are a form of oral herpes. They occur when someone contracts the herpes simplex virus, HSV-1. You can get this virus at any point in life, even as a small child. Many people have it and don’t even know it because it lies dormant inside the body most of the time. Cold sore flare-ups are caused by the virus and occur for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons for flare-ups include:
If any of these situations arise in your life, you may experience a cold sore flare up. But, if you’re not prone to them based on these circumstances, getting one from another person is just as common. They spread from person to person very easily, and it doesn’t take much contact at all to be exposed. Kissing is an easy way to contract a cold sore from someone else. The direct contact allows the virus to spread quickly.
A common misconception, however, is that it’s safe to kiss someone who has a cold sore at certain times. Let’s take a closer look at those myths.
When Is a Cold Sore Healed Enough to Kiss?
Cold sores are at their highest level of contagiousness when they are in the scabbing stage. This is when the cold sore has burst open, and pus begins to run out of it. Then, it scabs over and begins the healing process.
Unfortunately, this stage leaves the cold sore open and leaves you susceptible to catch it easily. It may not be all that appealing to kiss someone with a scab around their mouth anyway, but if kissing is a part of your routine, it may not stop you.
While it’s relatively easy to tell when someone has a cold sore at this stage, it is not the only stage in which you should avoid direct contact with the mouth.
Currently, there is no concrete answer as to when a cold sore is healed enough to kiss. Should you avoid kissing someone with an open or scabbing sore? Yes, but, you should also avoid it at their first signs of a sore, and for several days after it has disappeared entirely. Any time the cold sore is active in any way, it can be contagious.
Kissing someone with a cold sore scab may seem like an obvious avoidance. But, if you’re both prone to cold sores, communication is critical. You should warn your partner whenever you start feeling the earliest signs of a cold sore. These include things like:
- Tingling around the mouth
These symptoms can show up even a day before an actual blister appears. When they do, it’s time to avoid kissing and other forms of contact with your partner’s mouth (including what it might touch; toothbrush, towels, etc.) altogether.
What if I Already Get Fever Blisters?
If both you and your partner have the herpes simplex virus, you’re both susceptible to getting cold sores. If you’re prone to cold sore flare-ups for different reasons, you may not see a problem in kissing your partner when they have one. Unfortunately, it’s likely you’ll just be spreading the sore back and forth.
A cold sore can be a sign of a weakened immune system. If you and your partner both keep having them, without proper treatment, it could lead to other problems. Remember that they are caused by a virus, and that virus is actually what can spread. They can even spread to other parts of the body, such as the eye. This is known as ocular herpes. In severe cases, ocular herpes can damage the cornea, or even cause blindness.
Cold sores also often come with a slew of additional unwanted symptoms, including:
- Swollen glands/lymph nodes
- Possible cracking/bleeding
- A sore throat
They are so much more than irritating, itchy blisters around the mouth. It’s never a safe idea to think it’s okay to kiss someone if you’re both prone to cold sores. You never know what else they may lead to if they aren’t treated properly.
Should I Date Someone Who Gets Cold Sores?
According to the Center for Disease Control, more than half the population of the United States has HSV-1. That means more than half the population is susceptible to getting cold sores. Some people may seem more prone than others, but it’d be somewhat difficult to only pick and choose people without the virus to date.
Simply put, you shouldn’t avoid dating someone just because they get cold sores. They are extremely common, and most of the time they don’t take away anything from the livelihood of that individual. They just may be an annoyance for a few days. What you can do instead, is take the proper precautions when dating someone who gets them frequently.
Protecting Yourself from Infection
Because HSV-1 is so contagious, it’s impossible to prevent yourself from getting a cold sore completely. However, there are preventative measures you can take, especially if you’re in a relationship, to lower your risk. Use the following tips to stay safe from contagion:
- Avoid kissing altogether. It may be obvious that the mouth is off limits, but anywhere on the face, or even the hands (if your partner has touched the sore) can cause it to spread. It’s best to avoid kissing of any kind until well after the blister has healed.
- Avoid physical touch. This can be difficult, sometimes. Unfortunately, even something as simple as holding hands can increase your chances of catching the virus.
- Don’t share anything. This includes everything from hand towels to straws, or from lip balm to shaving razors. Everything your partner touches could have the virus lurking on it. It can survive for a while on objects like these, so It’s best to avoid them altogether.
- Boil anything you use for safety. This includes dishes that you may eventually share, etc. Boiling will help to kill the virus for the time being.
- Make sure your partner is getting proper treatment. Cold sores will eventually go away on their own. In some cases, though, it can take several days. Specific medications will not only help your partner find relief from burning and itching, but they can speed up the time it takes for the blister to heal. The faster it improves, the sooner you both can get back to the normalcy of your relationship. Use the Virulite cold sore device to heal cold sores in as little as three days.
- Protect yourself from common triggers. If you have HSV-1, avoid stressful situations, be smart about weather conditions, and protect yourself. If you avoid cold sore triggers of your own, it’s less likely that you and your partner will keep passing them back and forth.
Prevent Cold Sores by Avoiding Kissing
A cold sore and any symptoms associated with it should be long gone before you think about kissing your partner again. They should continue to use a cold sore treatment for several days, even after the symptoms have passed.
You shouldn’t be embarrassed or turned off if your partner gets cold sores. As stated above, more than half the population of the United States alone has the virus, and there may be a good chance you have it, too. They aren’t always given the negative stigma that used to apply because they have become so common.
If you are dating someone who frequently gets cold sores, communication is the key. Make sure they’re okay with protecting you from contracting it. Additionally, make sure you take the right steps to protect yourself. It doesn’t have to be a hindrance to your relationship as long as the proper steps are taken to treat it quickly with the Virulite cold sore machine, or HERP-B-GONE cold sore cream.