Cold sores are caused by the Herpes simplex virus and are highly contagious, so if you have the infection, you should take some measures in order to prevent others from getting the infection. If your partner or someone you know has the infection, you should also protect yourself from the infection. The cold sores are outbreaks of the herpes virus. Once the virus is contracted, it cannot be eliminated, but the frequency and the severity of the outbreaks can be controlled with medication. However, preventing the transmission of the virus is important. Cold sores are contagious for up to 10 days after they occur and during this period, caution measures should be undertaken. If the cold sores are weeping or draining, they are particularly contagious.
Here are 5 ways to prevent the spread of cold sores:
1. Don’t Touch a Cold Sore
Ideally, you should never touch a cold sore, especially if it is draining. If you touch a cold sore, you should thoroughly wash your hands for 2 minutes with warm water and antibacterial soap.
Avoid touching your face or lips after having touched a cold sore.
2. Don’t Share Hygiene or Cosmetic Items
To prevent the infection with the herpes virus, you should never use personal hygiene products that don’t belong to you; lip moisturizers, lip contours, toothbrushes or creams that have been in contact with a person with cold sores can transmit the herpes simplex virus and cause cold sores.
If you have a cold sore, don’t share your lip moisturizer, cosmetics or toothbrush with others.
3. Don’t Share Food
Don’t share food with people who have a cold sore. The same applies for drinks or chewing gums. If you have a cold sore, never share your food. Even if your cold sore doesn’t touch all the food, the transmission of the virus is possible.
Don’t share spoons, forks, food bowls, glasses, mugs or drinking straws with a person with cold sores.
4. No Kissing
Kissing a person with a cold sore can infect the healthy person. The cold sore can be transmitted even to other areas of the body such as the eyes.
As mentioned earlier, the cold sore can be contagious for up to 10 days. Abstain from kissing on the lips/ eyes for this period. An antiviral medication or Zovirax can reduce the duration of a cold sore and will also reduce the period during which this is contagious.
5. Use Condoms
The herpes virus may be transmitted through oral sex. Use condoms at all times while you or your partner has cold sores.
A few common sense hygiene rules can prevent the transmission of cold sores. If you suspect you may have cold sores, you should get a test and possibly receive some antiviral medications.
The herpes simplex virus cannot be eradicated once contracted; however, the outbreaks can be controlled, and using some preventive measures can ensure that you won’t spread the virus further to others.