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Doctor insights on: Incubation Time For Cold Sore Virus Exposure

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Dr. Heidi Fowler
1,014 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 generally caused by the herpes simplex virus 1 which is related to herpes simplex virus 2 that causes genital herpes. Cold sores are very contagious and can be spread by mouth to mouth contact. They can spread to the genitalia and cause genital ...Read more


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My husband cheated for 4 months and now I have a cold sore for the first time ever and i'm 39. He does not have a cold sore. Could he give me the virus without him ever getting a cold sore.

My husband cheated for 4 months and now I have a cold sore for the first time ever and i'm 39. He does not have a cold sore. Could he give me the virus without him ever getting a cold sore.

Cold : Cold sores or fever blisters are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (hsv-1) and are extremely common. Most people become infected as an infant or small child when kissed or by sharing eating utensils with an adult who has the virus. The virus is most contagious when someone has a cold sore, but can still be passed along by someone who does not. Many people do not even know that they are infected because the virus can "hide out" in the nerve cells for very long periods of time - for some people it hides out forever and they never get a cold sore. For others, the virus can "wake up" and that's when a cold sore happens. No one knows exactly what causes a cold sore to appear - sometimes stress, illness, fevers, colds, sunlight, cold weather, menstruation, certain foods, allergies, you name it! they usually last 7-10 days and are more of an annoyance than a danger unless you have a weakened immune system or contract a bacterial infection on top of the cold sore. So yes, your husband could have given you hsv-1 without ever having a cold sore himself. However, it is also possible that you could have caught hsv-1 years ago from someone else by kissing or sharing eating utensils and are just now having symptoms. (possibly brought out by recent stress?) since the virus is so common and lies dormant in so many people, it can be difficult to pinpoint the source of infection. ...Read more

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Have a 1st time cold sore. Being careful about spreading the virus. A subtle rash started on my hands as well. Are my hands contagious now too?

Have a 1st time cold sore. Being careful about spreading the virus. A subtle rash started on my hands as well. Are my hands contagious now too?

No but: Cold sore is caused by herpes simplex i virus which has infected most people but only a small number breaks out in cold sores. Thus you will not be infecting anyone who has a good immune system. However it is not usually associated with rash far away from the junction where the skin joins the mucous membrane. Thus either you have something else or the rash and sores are unrelated. ...Read more

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How can I get ride of the cold sore virus?

How can I get ride of the cold sore virus?

You can't get rid of: it but your physician can prescribe oral Valtrex (valacyclovir) or another antiviral medication. ...Read more

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Please tell me how long it takes for the cold sore virus to leave your body?

Cold sore.: It doesn't leave your body totally. A cold sore may heal in about ten days without intervention. ...Read more

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I contracted the cold sore virus 2 years ago, and only got them every once in a while, but now I'm getting them every month. Is this normal?

I contracted the cold sore virus 2 years ago, and only got them every once in a while, but now I'm getting them every month. Is this normal?

This is common: The virus is constantly being fought by your immune systems. Ultraviolet light exposure (i.e. sun), stress, and periods can all cause the virus to flair without warning and without following any previous pattern. There are medications for patients with frequent flairs. See your dermatologist and ask about options that are right for you! ...Read more

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If you have the virus but no outbreak, is it possible to give the cold sore to someone else?

Cold sores: Because you can shed the virus without having open lesions, you should always let your partner know if you had cold sores in the past. Still, you are more likely to spread the virus when a sore is visible to that would be the time to avoid contact until the sore is completely gone. ...Read more

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I sprayed Lysol on my cold sore. Will that kill the virus?

I sprayed Lysol on my cold sore. Will that kill the virus?

No: Topicals are not worth discussion. ORAL antivirals are very effective when dosed correctly. They are very safe, even with neutropenia and colon cancer. Depending on your history you may take a large dose at first symptoms of attack (prodrome) or a smaller daily dose to prevent symptoms. A lip balm including sunscreen also helps reduce attacks. Best result with a dermatologist. ...Read more

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Virus (Definition)

A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of an organism. Viruses can infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants ...Read more