How do Cold Sores spread From Person to Person?
Cold Sores spread when a non-infected person kisses a person with a cold sore, or by direct skin-to-skin contact or by touching an object that has already come in contact with a cold sore. Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2) are the two different types of cold sores.
How Does Cold Sores Spread?
The herpes simplex virus causes cold sores or what are referred to as fever blisters. The medical term for cold sore is herpes labialis.
The herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores is contagious. This virus can spread through direct skin-to-skin contact or through contact with mucous membrane that already has cold sore. In other words, it can spread through direct contact as well as through indirect contact.
Although there are many ways through which a cold sore could spread, direct contact is the easiest way for the cold sores to spread. How does this happen? If the sores happen to be in and around your mouth, kissing someone with an active cold sore is the easiest way through which the disease could spread. Then what happens is the infected saliva gets transferred to another person’s mouth and sets the infection rolling. Even if the infected saliva comes in contact with another person’s skin that has a skin wound, the infection could get transferred. So in case you have a cold sore in your mouth or skin, avoid close contact with other people. Likewise avoid close contact with other people having cold sores.
Cold sores can also spread through indirect contact. When someone comes in contact with an object that has already touched a cold sore then the infection could spread. For example, saliva containing the virus could latch on to cups used by a person who has cold sores in the mouth. If these cups are used by another person the virus could get transferred and cause infection. This is true with the use of lipsticks and balms as well. Do not use lipsticks and balms that have been used by a person who has cold sores.
There are other possible ways through which the disease could spread.
Here are a few to prevent that from happening:
- Do not share personal items like towels, and napkins that have come in contact with cold sores. In other words, do not use towels and napkins that have been used by another person who you know has a cold sore.
- Do not touch another person with hands that have already touched a cold sore. When you touch a cold sore with your hands, the virus could hitch on to your fingers. Thereafter whatever objects you touch could become a likely source of infection. Therefore, if you touch another person, the infection could get transferred to him, especially if he has an open skin wound.
- Avoid oral sex with a person already having genital herpes infection
Throughout the period cold sore symptoms are present it can spread from person to person. In other words the disease could transmit from the first signs of tingle till the sore gets completely healed.