It is believed that the herpes simplex virus (HSV) cold sores transmission can be prevented to a certain level. However, when things go awry and an outbreak does occur, most physicians will advice their patients to not touch the area where the sores once were or to wear protective clothing when the outbreak occurs. The herpes simplex virus thrives in warm and moist areas such as the mouth, nose, eyes, and genitals.
There are several theories concerning the cold sores transmission of the herpes simplex virus from one person to another. One theory is that individuals who have an active herpetic infection are more prone to cold sores than people who do not have an active herpetic infection. Since herpes is spread through the skin, genital areas are often the initial area that it infects. However, it may also be transmitted through contact with the fluid secreted from an open sore.
Another theory regarding cold sores transmission is that they are contagious among those who come into contact with an individual who has an active herpes simplex virus. This theory was tested on animals and found to be true. If the herpes simplex virus is spread through contact, then it should be contagious among those who come into contact with the area where the sore once was. However, it is unclear as to why this occurs. It could be that the virus is only contagious when an individual is experiencing an active outbreak or if they are in a state where the outbreaks are more frequent.
A third theory concerning herpes transmission is from a person who has a past history of herpes to a person who does not have a past history of herpes. For example, in a case where there is a person who has always had recurring outbreaks of cold sores on and off throughout his or her life, and there is no previous history of genital herpes, but a person who has never had an outbreak after years of living with the same partner will have that person be at risk for acquiring herpes simplex virus. The theory here is that because the herpes simplex virus is transmittable via the skin, any person can come into contact with the fluid secreted by an open sore and thereby become infected. Another case in point regards a man who has sex with women who are infected with the herpes simplex virus. In this instance, the man has unprotected intercourse with the woman and becomes infected.
When it comes to genital herpes, there is a good chance that transmission can occur from the mouth and/or the genitals. This is true because there is an opening between the cervix and the penis, and the mouth has the possibility to allow bacteria to enter the genitals, which can then be transferred to someone who has the herpes simplex virus. Some people experience blisters around their mouth and throat as a result of herpes. These people are particularly at risk for transmission of the herpes simplex virus to others. However, there are other reasons why transmission from the mouth and/or genitals might occur. For instance, if a person has a wound that has not been cleaned properly or if they have a lesion or open sore that has not healed after a period of time, it could easily allow the herpes simplex virus to enter and begin the transmission process.
It’s important to note that although cold sores may look similar to sun burns or fever blisters, the fact is that they are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Therefore, treatment is the same for cold sores and any type of sun burn. The best thing to do is to use ice compresses to reduce the pain and swelling of the area. To prevent transmission, people should avoid kissing others, sharing utensils and talking on the phone while having an outbreak. As much as possible, people need to avoid sharing clothing, towels and any other items that they would use to clean themselves. Lastly, people should not share food or drinks with others during an active outbreak, which means that they should avoid sharing anything with a sick individual, too.