A 47-year-old male asked:
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i heard that if you have a cold sore and touch it and then touch an open wound that the wound will get infected. is this true?

2 doctor answers
Dr. Eleanor Host
28 years experience Family Medicine
Yes: The virus that causes cold sores is making a bunch of copies of itself in the cold sore. If you touch it, you are picking up all the microscopic viral particles and basically like sowing seed, transferring it to a new spot to grow more. You may not even realize that you have an open wound, the virus is so small it can get into tiny cracks.
Answered on Sep 15, 2013
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Dr. Lauren Romeo
18 years experience Wound care
Yes: You may spread the virus into open skin areas by touching the cold sore. Please wash your hands and wear gloves if caring for someone with a cold sore as well.
Answered on May 7, 2015
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