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Are Cold Sores Contagious?

Cold sores” are an infection which are a result of the HSV I herpes simplex virus. Cold sores are in most cases a result of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 however in some cases can also be a result of HSV type 2. These can appear on any part of the body but usually develop on the outside area of lips and inside the mouth, cheeks, nose or fingers. First these cold sores form and then they break and leak out fluid. After the fluid oozes out a yellow colored crust or scab forms which ultimately heals usually without leaving a scar. Cold sores last for seven to ten days in most cases. Cold sores are contagious until they have completely crusted over.

Why do cold sores start?

Cold sores are a result of the herpes simplex virus. This virus has two types as mentioned above, HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both of these types of HSV can lead to the formation of cold sores on the genitals, this is called genital herpes. Cold sores which appear around the mouth are known as herpes labialis.

This virus in most cases is able to enter the body through a cut in the skin around or inside the mouth. This virus is contagious and is transferred from one person to another. The HSV virus can be transferred to people who come into direct contact with cold sores or come into contact with infected fluid by sharing razors, sharing eating utensils or kissing a person who has cold sores. Parents who have cold sores often transfer the HSV virus to their children in this manner. Cold sores are also capable of spreading to other parts of the body.

Symptoms

Starting symptoms of cold sores could be feeling of pain of on the lips, around the mouth, developing a sore throat, running up a fever or swelling of glands in the neck or some other areas of the body. Children might drool before the cold sores appearance. After the occurrence of blisters, cold sores mostly break open and leak their fluid. After leaking out the fluid cold sores develop a crust and go away after some days or could take up to two weeks. For some people lots of pain accompanies cold sores.

Cold Sores are Contagious

Cold sores are contagious. Sharing of razors, towels, toothbrushes, silverware or any other thing that a person with cold sores has used should not be shared. Also people with cold sores should try to wash hands as often as possible and try their best not to touch their sore. This is to make sure that the virus does not spread to other parts of the body like the eyes and genital area or to other people.

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