Are cold sores herpes?

Yes. Cold sores are usually caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus HSV-1. But sometimes they can be the result of an infection by the HSV-2 virus, contracted after having oral sex with someone suffering from genital herpes - cold sore-like blisters on the genitals and surrounding area. Both types of the Herpes Simplex Virus are very easily passed on (are highly contagious) through direct contact.

Many people feel there is some shame or social stigma to having herpes, so the lesions on the face are usually just called cold sores.

Can herpes be cured?

Unfortunately, there is no complete cure for herpes. Once infected with the virus, it will remain for the rest of your life. Having HSV-1 or HSV-2 doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop cold sores, though. Some 80% of people who are infected never develop cold sores.

Although there’s always a chance of cold sores recurring, there are things you can do to reduce the chances. If you have recurrent problems, speak to your GP.

For example, regular use of Prevasore can reduce the chance of your lips becoming dry, cracked or chapped - the ideal conditions for cold sores to develop. If cold sores do develop, Prevasore can help relieve the symptoms, including discomfort and itching, and promote healing.

Your questions answered

Q. How can I tell if I have herpes?

A. Your GP or other health professional will probably be able to make the diagnosis just by looking at your symptoms - the sores or scabs on your lips. In exceptional circumstances, a swab may be taken, or a blood test carried out

Q. Are cold sores STDs?

A. Only a small number of people suffer from cold sores caused by genital herpes. As the HSV-2 virus can be passed on via oral sex or other intimate contact, these cold sore outbreaks are often classed as STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)

Q. Can herpes zoster cause cold sores?

A. Herpes zoster is usually called shingles and is caused by a different type of virus, the varicella-zoster virus. Infection with this virus doesn’t lead to cold sores


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