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Doctor insights on: Are Cold Sores Contagious When Scabbed

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Is a cold sore on the lip still contagious after it has scabbed over? I have also taken Valtrex (valacyclovir)

Is a cold sore on the lip still contagious after it has scabbed over? I have also taken Valtrex (valacyclovir)

Still contagious: Even it has scabbed over, the herpes virus can always be contagious, although it is most contagious immediately before an active outbreak of blisters. Less contagious if it is scabbed comparing to blisters.

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Dr. Heidi Fowler
1,043 Doctors shared insights

Cold Sore (Definition)

Also referred to as fever blisters, cold sores are small, painful fluid-filled blisters that are usually found around the lips. Cold sores are very contagious and can be spread by mouth to mouth contact and can spread to the genitalia and cause genital ...Read more


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Is it true that cold sores are contagious?

Is it true that cold sores are contagious?

Yes, very: Cold sores, are caused by the herpes virus, and appear initially as small clear bubbles on the lip, roof of the mouth, or the gum near the teeth. These vesicles rupture and leave small, painful ulcers. These are very catagious and you can spread them to other parts of your body. So don't touch the sore with your finger! Use a cotton-tipped swab to touch it, if you must, and throw it away!

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At what stage do cold sores become contagious?

At what stage do cold sores become contagious?

Herpes: Asymptomatic shedding is very real and one of the biggest reasons why it's possible for people with herpes to pass herpes virus on to a sexual partner without having any signs or symptoms. That's pretty much what asymptomatic means: you can't see or feel that the virus is present and active on the surface of the skin. Thus, the person with herpes is always contagious.

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Are cold sores still contagious when they're gone?

Are cold sores still contagious when they're gone?

Not once the: Skin has fully healed. But they are contagious in all forms of the active lesion.

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How contagious are cold sores if they are open vs closed?

How contagious are cold sores if they are open vs closed?

No: They are most contagious when a scab cracks open and fluid oozes out. But, it is contagious through all phases. It is not contagious once the skin has healed.

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What is a good way to cure cold sores that have already scabbed?

You can't: Keep them moist with a lip balm/lubricant that is only for your personal use. If using your fingers to apply be sure to wash thoroughly and avoid finger/eye contact.

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I think my boyfriend gave me cold sores. How contagious are they?

I think my boyfriend gave me cold sores. How contagious are they?

Unlikely: You probably got it from yourself, not your boyfriend. Most adults are already infected with hsv-1, which is typically acquired in childhood. But if this is truly your very first cold sore, then maybe you did get it from him.

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Are cold sores contagious only when they are open or all the time?

Are cold sores contagious only when they are open or all the time?

NO, unfortunately: They are contagious through all phases until the skin has healed. They are most contagious with an open & oozing sore.

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If your partner has cold sores, can you get them too? Are they contagious?

If your partner has cold sores, can you get them too? Are they contagious?

Cold Sores: Can be contagious. It is possible to transmit from one person to another. But - most people have been exposed to the virus by your age.

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my hubby gets alot of cold sores are they contagious I have started getting more since I met him. I used to get them occasionally. Could it a flare?

my hubby gets alot of cold sores are they contagious I have started getting more since I met him. I used to get them occasionally. Could it a flare?

Yes: Cold sores are cause by the HSV-1 virus, and can be passed on via kissing, etc. Things like stress, illness, lack of sleep, or anything that lowers your immune system can cause a flare, which is not a new infection, but the old infection resurfacing. We are never truly free of the virus once we get it, but you are in good company, since most adults do test + for HSV-1 antibodies!

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How can you get rid of cold sores that scabbed?

How can you get rid of cold sores that scabbed?

Near the end..: If you have cold sores that have crusted over...Then they are on their way out. The cycle is generally about 14 days. Hang in there and don't pick at em or put anything on them.

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How long are cold sores contagious after taking valtrex (valacyclovir)?

How long are cold sores contagious after taking valtrex (valacyclovir)?

As long as sore is: ...Visible. Cold sores are contagious at all stages from the tingling stage to the weeping stage to the scabbing and healing stage. They are most contagious at the weeping stage when fluid comes out. Valtrex (valacyclovir) may shorten the duration of infection, but if the sores are still healing they are contagious.

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Are cold sores only contagious if they have opened and are leaking fluid?

Are cold sores only contagious if they have opened and are leaking fluid?

NO, they are: Contagious as long as there is a lesion. They are most contagious when split open & oozing. They are not contagious once the skin has fully healed.

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Does any research support the use of lysine to treat cold sores? Are cold sores contagious? Can I safely kiss my partner when sores are present?

Oral herpes: I am not aware of any research about lysine and cold sores. Cold sores are caused by a virus called herpes virus. Contact with the active cold sores will transmit the herpes virus to your partner. But when crusts form on cold sores, they stop being contagious.

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I have hsv-1 (cold sores) and I have never had an outbreak or felt symptons. I wanted to know if im contagious to my family and life partner.

I have hsv-1 (cold sores) and I have never had an outbreak or felt symptons. I wanted to know if im contagious to my family and life partner.

Herpes: Yes. Of course you are. But, unfortunately there is no test that can tell us where and when you are shedding virus and are contagious. We now know that having an outbreak or not is, in no way, predictive of contagion.

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Are cold sores on a lip contagious? What if it's your husband who has it but you don't want to get infected?

Yes they are contagi: Cold sores are caused by Type 1 Herpes Simplex Virus and are contagtios. Avoid kissing as long as there are active sores

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I was wondering if cold sores are only contagious during an outbreak? I just recently had an outbreak and didn't know I had the herpes virus. I am visiting my boyfriend next week, I am hoping it will be gone by then and I was wondering if it is gone is it

Herpes simplex: Anyone who has had "cold sores", assuming that these were herpetic lesions, may be shedding virus even in the absence of open lesions. This is not, of course, a guarantee that you are spreading it, but a high probability that your intimate partner has become infected. Worldwide, the rate of HSV infection is around 90%.

Contagious (Definition)

One is able to transmit an infection to another by ...Read more