Are Cold Sores Contagious?

Cold sores are among the most common viruses that people struggle with. But, while people think it is an STD, it is not. Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are small, painful bumps that appear on the lips or around the mouth. They are typically caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Cold sores usually start with a tingling feeling followed by an itchy sensation, while the blister appears as a tiny red bump and eventually crusts over before healing.

The herpes simplex virus family, which includes the cold sore, can be detected in saliva and skin secretions. Herpes simplex viruses are transmitted through saliva, kissing, skin-to-skin contact, and sharing utensils or objects that come into contact with the virus. In short, the cold sore occurs when the virus enters the skin at a break in the normal barrier where tissue damage or injury occurs. Here is more about these sores and the most suitable cold sore treatment and prevention.


See a doctor

If you are unsure if you have cold sores, see your doctor. Treating them early will prevent spreading the virus to other areas of your body or other people. If you have a cold sore, you can minimize its impact by taking the following steps:


Wash with soap and water frequently

Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus that affects lip tissue and surrounding skin. Even though it is not an STD, it is still wise to maintain proper hygiene for your overall health and well-being. Washing your hands and face will help you avoid getting more cold sores and other infections that may arise from having your hands on the affected area. 


Don’t touch your eyes

Once you have a cold sore, you may be tempted to rub or scratch the affected area. There are many nerve endings in the face and lips, and scratching these areas can cause more itching and irritation. This kind of contact with your infected cold sore can lead to the virus spreading to another part of your body, such as an eye that is very sensitive and prone to infection. Once in the eye, it can even cause blindness if left untreated, so it is essential to avoid touching your eyes while you have a cold sore.


Avoid kissing or touching other people’s lips

It is best to avoid kissing anyone when you have a cold sore since this area houses many nerve endings that are easily irritated by direct contact or even brushing against clothing or bed sheets. If possible, it would be a good idea to inform the person you plan to kiss that you have a cold sore so that they can be more understanding of your situation. The virus is also very contagious and can be spread through direct contact with the skin or clothes. If you’re sick, avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth. If you have to touch them, wash your hands before and after.


Keep the area around cold sore clean

It is very important to maintain a clean environment around your cold sore so that the virus cannot easily spread to others. The virus that causes cold sores is highly contagious and readily spreads on almost any surface in an open state, including skin, clothing, towels, and bedsheets. This means that it is vital to keep these areas clean by washing them regularly with soap and water or using a disinfectant spray. This will prevent the virus from spreading further on other parts of your body or on other items in the house, such as telephones and light switches.



Cold sores are not fatal, but they can be very painful and inconvenient. They are also a contagious virus that you should work to contain. While it is a virus, the above cold sore treatment methods best minimize its effects. Within five to ten days, you should be healed.

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