Are Cold Sores Contagious?

We work hard to craft beautiful smiles for all of our patients to give people a strong foundation of dental health and more confidence to make a difference in the world. However, sometimes our patients deal with minor problems that make it hard to smile and show the world their joy. One of the minor problems that can often emerge is a blister commonly known as a cold sore.

Cold sores are blisters that are filled with fluid. They are found around the mouth, and as the blister breaks, the cold sore forms a crust. The infection, often called a fever blister, comes from herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). HSV-1 is different from HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes, and there is no known cure at this time.

According to the University of Texas Health Center, cold sores are highly contagious during the time they are present. Cold sores spread by touch, so it’s important to clean your hands often when you have a cold sore and not scratch, rub, or touch the active sore. It’s also essential to avoid skin to skin contact around the cold sore area.

While cold sores can hamper the confidence one has to smile bright and long, typical sores only last about 2-4 weeks, and there are self-care options available. It’s helpful to steer clear of acidic, salty, or spicy foods. People can also use over-the-counter medications such as Anbesol, Orabase, or Abreva. Many of these medications are most effective when used during the first 24 hours of symptoms.

If you have any questions about your dental health or if you would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.

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