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Doctor insights on: Incubation Time For Cold Sore Virus Exposure

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How long does it take to develop lesions after exposure to cold sores? My boyfriend has developed cold sore blisters and I think I have been exposed. How long before I can expect to see blisters forming if I do have the virus?

How long does it take to develop lesions after exposure to cold sores? My boyfriend has developed cold sore blisters and I think I have been exposed. How long before I can expect to see blisters forming if I do have the virus?

Week to 10 days: In addition the best time to treat a cold sore is before you see it. A tingle or itch will usually start first in the lip area and that is the time to start whichever medication your doctor recommends. ...Read more

Dr. Heidi Fowler
1,055 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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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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If I have Herpes simplex virus-1 cold sore)can I pass genital herpes to my partner through oral sex even if I don't have a cold sore at the time?

If I have Herpes simplex virus-1 cold sore)can I pass genital herpes to my partner through oral sex even if I don't have a cold sore at the time?

Yes: Yes it is possible. You can potentially shed the Herpes virus even when you do not have a visible sore and this shedding can transmit the infection. ...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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Can a child with a cold sore be spreading the virus if playing in a community pool?

Can a child with a cold sore be spreading the virus if playing in a community pool?

Possibly: Although community pools are chlorinated to help kill germs and prevent the spread of germs, the virus that causes cold sores is contagious. I suspect the risk is low. Nonetheless, I would suggest that kids with open, active cold sores stay out of community pools to help reduce the risk of transmission. ...Read more

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Kissed my boyfriend who had a dry cold sore? Should he be virus-free at that point?

Kissed my boyfriend who had a dry cold sore? Should he be virus-free at that point?

Never...: ...A guarantee - but then again, some people are contagious without a visible lesion. ...Read more

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If I took a sip from a friends straw but she didn't have a cold sore or anything and I don't know if she gets them how long can the virus live on astraw?

Herpes: 75% of americans have herpes. It is more likely that you are already have herpes than not. If you have not had the blood test for herpes then that has to happen before you worry about other infections. But, in this scenario it is possible if there is immediate exposure to your friend's straw to getting virus if they have herpes. There is no standard time to consider. Please get tested. ...Read more

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Can my friend transfer a cold sore virus in his eye to me?

Can my friend transfer a cold sore virus in his eye to me?

Not Usually But: Oral herpes is a common infection of the mouth area. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (hsv-1). There are two types of hsv, termed hsv-1 and hsv-2. See links for more information: 1) http://www. Emedicinehealth. Com/oral_herpes/article_em. Htm 2) http://www. Nlm. Nih. Gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000606.Htm. ...Read more

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Cold sore = herpes simplex virus 1?

Cold sore = herpes simplex virus 1?

Eat Yogurt: Herpes simplex virus is when you get little cold sores on the outside of your mouth or the tip of your nose.
Try not to touch the cold sore, you could spred it to other parts of your face or eyes.
Steep a tea bag then cool it- apply to cold sore to releive pain.
Lysine, 3, 000 milligrams daily until the sore goes away. Or eat yogurt which is rich in lysine.
You can buy lip clear which has lysine. ...Read more

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What leads to cold sore, herpes simplex virus?

Yes: An estimated 80% of americans have been exposed to herpes simplex virus type 1. However, not all of those people will get cold sores. It depends on your immune system. Cold sores are painful liquid filled blisters that can occur on the lips, roof of the mouth or the gums which are caused by the herpes simplex virus (hsv-1). Tingling ;/or pain can herald the oncoming of cold sore 1 to 2 days prior. ...Read more

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Does one's first cold sore outbreak mean that the virus was contracted recently?

Cold sore: Not necessarily. You could have contracted the virus a long time ago, did not cause an infection but made its way to one of your nerve roots to hibernate. For some reason, it decided to come to the surface and cause the cold sore. ...Read more

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How long could a cold sore virus live on a plastic bottle in a freezer at 32F or 0c?

Not long: Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1, or the cold sore virus) is transmitted by direct contact with an open sore. It does not live long outside the human body. Hope this helps! ...Read more

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If u share salsa and chips with someone who had a cold sore and herpes, can u get the virus?

Herpes Simplex: The american academy of dermatology explains that oral herpes, or herpes simplex virus 1, is typically contracted early on in childhood from relatives who have become infected with the virus. Oral herpes is commonly spread from family members to their children through the sharing of food. Herpes can also spread through the sharing of utensils or drinking glasses. ...Read more

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I have a cold sore and how long does the virus reside on my pillowcases and sheets once I get out of bed and how often should I wash the bedding?

Not long: Herpes virus lives a very short time on dry surfaces, especially sheets. The risk of transmission via sheets is exceedingly low. The virus sheds in body fluids (saliva) so as long as your pillow isn't saturated you should be fine. Cleaning frequency is up to you :). ...Read more

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Is kissing someone while I have a cold sore any different than when I don't? (This is assuming I shed the virus identically with and without a sore.)

Is kissing someone while I have a cold sore any different than when I don't? (This is assuming I shed the virus identically with and without a sore.)

Herpes: You most likely are shedding more virus when you have an active sore and are therefore more likely to transmit the virus. The good news is that most people by reaching your age have already been infected with herpes type1 and you won't be giving them anything new. It would be best to refrain from any skin-to-skin contact with your sores until they are fully healed. ...Read more

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I have a cold sore that mostly healed. I shared a fork w/ my boyfriend & had oral sex, receiving. Is it a possibly he could have got/spread the virus?

I have a cold sore that mostly healed. I shared a fork w/ my boyfriend & had oral sex, receiving. Is it a possibly he could have got/spread the virus?

No significant risk: Oral herpes is transmitted only by contacting someone with your mouth, i.e. by kissing or performing oral sex. In theory maybe by utensils and shared drinking glasses, but this is rare. Contact with your genital area connot transmit it unless you also have genital herpes. Also a "mostly healed" sore probably is no longer infectious, but in future best avoid all contact until totally healed. ...Read more

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Is it likely that I've already been exposed to the cold sore virus if my mom has been getting them since I was a small child? Never gotten a sore 33yr

Is it likely that I've already been exposed to the cold sore virus if my mom has been getting them since I was a small child? Never gotten a sore 33yr

Maybe, maybe not: In the US, half of all people your age are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), the cause of cold sores. Most are caught in childhood from infected playmates, but you could have caught it from your mom. However, if no symptoms, either you don't have it, or if you do, it probably will never cause any problem, not something to worry about. But if concerned, a blood test is available. ...Read more

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Someone with a cold sore used my lipstick and ate directly out of my ice cream container. Can the virus still be passed if I use them days later?

Someone with a cold sore used my lipstick and ate directly out of my ice cream container. Can the virus still be passed if I use them days later?

Little or no risk: HSV1, the oral herpes virus, is not usually transmitted by this sort of contact. Of course you should never share lipstick with anyone, but that's mostly to prevent colds, flu, etc, not herpes. Don't worry about it. ...Read more

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