When is it Safe Enough to Kiss after a Cold Sore?
Whether most people realize it or not, kissing is a part of everyday life. We have learned from a young age that it expresses affection and love. We kiss our lovers, we kiss our family, we kiss our pets, but you never really stop to think about how kissing can come with consequences.
Cold sores are small, fluid filled blisters that accumulate around or on the mouth and lips. Typically, the blisters break and scab over. The scab eventually falls off, and this indicates that the cold sore has reached the healing stage. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), and they are a relatively common occurrence that stem from activities such as kissing, oral sex, sharing utensils, skin to skin contact and even sharing towels. It affects more people than one would think. 2.5 out of 1,000 people experience at least one outbreak of cold sores per year. (http://www.cfp.ca/content/54/12/1683.full).
It is imperative to be wary of infected individuals, so it is recommended to avoid kissing or any sort of oral contact, specifically around people with weakened immune systems and babies. You can spread the virus even in its dormant state, but it is most contagious when it is active. Most people are unaware of the fact that they are capable of transmitting the virus, especially since it is possible to be carrying it without any symptoms. Due to this fact, it may come as a shock whenever you experience a breakout for the first time because it may seem like it came out of the blue, when really most people carry the virus unknowingly. Although cold sores are highly contagious, they are easily treatable. Cold sores typically heal on their own over a span of one to two weeks. To speed up the healing process, there are a variety of medications available. The most widely used medication is called Valacyclovir, and it is an antiviral medication used to treat herpes virus infections such as shingles, cold sores and genital herpes. Treating a cold sore in its early stages may help in preventing it from fully developing.
Unfortunately, cold sores carry a social stigma of sorts, and can be embarrassing while participating in everyday activities such as meeting up with friends or being at work. In addition, having a cold sore is extremely inconvenient and it can put a strain on kissing and various intimate activities. One of the most popular questions that several affected individuals ask is when is it safe to resume engaging in oral contact? Generally, it is recommended to wait three to four days after the scabs fall off before it is safe to engage in such activities. Prior to kissing someone, sharing a drink or deciding to be intimate, it is best to be patient and wait for the outbreak to completely clear up. As long as the cold sore is active, it is contagious. Even though the viral fluid may not be present, the cold sore continues to shed into the later stages of the healing process. The longer you wait after an outbreak, there is a lesser chance of transmitting the virus to someone else. It is also best to maintain communication regarding a cold sore, especially with your partner and people around you. As soon as you feel the early signs of a cold sore, you should warn others so that they are kept in the loop.
Although cold sores can prove to be a hindrance to everyday life, don’t let it discourage you. It’s not the end of the world! There are many affordable options and clinics available to help. For your ultimate convenience, there are even telehealth apps to assist you with any sort of inquiries you may have. HerpAlert is a telehealth app specifically catered towards patients with a chief complaint of herpes simplex virus (HSV). If you are concerned about a cold sore and need a diagnosis, you can contact HerpAlert. They are a company of doctors who can diagnose and treat herpes all in one online platform. It is a very straight forward process that entails only 4 steps. Register, complete the electronic questionnaire, upload photos and select a payment method. That’s it! Skip the appointment, and don’t hesitate to contact now!