Dentist Dr. Christopher Kammer: Are Cold Sores Contagious?
Question: Are Cold Sores Contagious?
Dr. Chris Kammer answers this question as part of theQuantum Health Oral Care VideoSeries.
Answer: Yes, they are contagious and can be spread very easily. To protect yourself and others, it’s important to learn how the herpes simplex virus 1 that causes cold sores can be spread. The herpes simplex 1 virus ( also known as HSV-1) that causes cold sores is present in an estimated 80% of the population and of those, a whopping 25% get contagious cold sores.
Many people are infected at an early age, often by the time they are five years old. Once the virus infects an individual, it will remain in that person's body forever. Herpes 1 is latent or dormant for much of the time, hiding in the nervous system. However, an infected person can spread HSV-1 to others even when he is not experiencing an outbreak. This is called asymptomatic shedding. The herpes 1 virus is often transmitted through an object an infected person used, like a toothbrush or tube of lip balm.
If particles of the HSV-1 virus are transferred to an object and someone else uses it, that person risks infection. The risk of infection is greatest when the person spreading the virus has an active cold sore especially when the sore is in the weeping stage when it bursts open and expels a clear liquid. The Herpes 1 Virus can also be spread to different parts of the infected person’s body. Although the skin protects much of our body from infection, we are vulnerable to infection where the skin is thin in the nostrils or the eyes or where we have an open sore or a hang nail. People with an active cold sore should wash their hands frequently, and avoid touching the sore. Finally, Dr Kammer recommends Lip Clear Lysine+ ointment for those of you who get cold sores. It’s all natural, which makes it one of his favorites, but more importantly, it’s been shown to cut cold sore time in half. From the QuantumHealth Video Series