[Question #1873] Oral Herpes Risks

42 months ago

Hello Doctor, 


Thank you in advance for taking your time and answering my question. I appreciate the work you do here helping people. 


Now onto my problem. 3 days ago while I was in the gym, I noticed what looked like cold sores on the right side of my upper lip. I was shocked because I do not remember ever having cold sores in my life. I got home and examined the sores and I am pretty sure that they are cold sores caused by Oral Herpes (HSV1). At least that is what they really looked like. 


Unfortunately doctor, this annoyed me greatly for some reason and I feel really down since the first time I saw the sores which was 3 days ago. I keep thinking if this is a newly acquired infection or if I had it in me for a long time. I haven’t had any sexual encounters in the past 3 weeks, so my best guess is I got this herpes in a non-sexual way like from sharing a drink or a cigarette with someone etc. 


My question is, how likely is it to contract Oral Herpes from sharing a drink with someone? I shared a plastic with someone that might have oral herpes. Does that put me at risk? Is this possible or is there no way Oral Herpes can be transmitted through things like glasses, bottles, cooking utensils etc.? 


I will have blood tests tomorrow as my cold sores almost healed, with a little bit of clotted blood on top. I noticed the sores almost fully formed 3 days ago and its almost completely gone today. Is this how long it takes for the sores to heal away? 


I asked the laboratory about their test and they said it was an immunoassay test for HSV1 and HSV 2. Is this a reliable test and what is the window period for it?


PS: As I am also very allergic to pollen and sensitive to sunlight, and its almost the end of March,  could these factors also contribute to the onset of these cold sores? I have a very blurred memory of having cold sores once 2 years ago, around the same time now,  I just didn’t pay any attention to it and thought it was a canker sore. 


Regards,


Eames 


Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
42 months ago
It's very hard to know what might be going on here - it certainly could be a cold sore, though three days is pretty short for a cold sore outbreak.  Did it start with water blisters?  You mentioned it was fully formed - can you tell me more what you mean by that?
cold sores and canker sores are very different, canker sores occur inside the mouth. 
I think it is extremely unlikely that you would acquire herpes from someone by sharing a drink or utensils.  We do discourage the sharing of lipsticks and you'll notice (or maybe you won't ever notice) at cosmetic counters they clean lipstick samplers between customers for this reason. If someone with a cold sore tries on a lipstick and then someone comes right after and spreads the lipstick on their own lips, that would represent a very small but possible risk.  You are talking about something completely different here with sharing of other things.  Also, if you had cold sores two years ago, this would certainly be a recurrence and might possible resolve quickly.  If your antibody test is negative for HSV 1 and 2, and you get these again, I would suggest that you get them swab tested right away.  The swab is most accurate done at the beginning of an outbreak. 
Remember that more than half the US population has HSV 1 so it is very common and not a reason to feel too sad

Terri
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42 months ago
Hello Terri,

Thank you for your reply.

What are water blisters? When I noticed it 3 days ago, they looked like blisters but they were still forming because the next day, they were much more visible as in more filled up and looked whiter. Now its almost gone, I doubt that it will be visible in 24 hours time.

So its almost impossible if one does not have any cold sores but is HSV1 positive and shares his/her drink with someone else and that someone else contracts oral herpes?

I will have my tests tomorrow and I just hope they turn out negative. What is the window period for these tests?

Additionally, could my hay fever be the trigger of this cold sore outbreak?

Eames,
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
42 months ago
I don't think that your hay fever would be the cause of these, no.   But cold sores come when the immune system is suppressed, so I guess it is possible. 
Yes, I think it is almost impossible that you would acquire HSV 1 by sharing a drink with another person. 
Your description of "more filled up" does sound more like a cold sore, yes, they are traditionally water blisters, they are little blisters filled with clear fluid. 

Terri
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42 months ago
Hello Terri,

Thank you for your reply.

It has been 6 days since I first noticed the sores and they are almost gone right now. Just a little piece of dead skin remains on my lip. So is this healing rate normal or is it too fast to be HSV1?

The fact that transmission via sharing a drink is nearly impossible put me at ease however I still feel a little bad about probably having the HSV1 Virus because many people in my family also have it and this means I might have even contracted this since I was very young.

I just got tested this morning for both HSV1 and HSV2 and my result are going to come out in 2-3 days. Although, they did not specify if these tests were IgG or IgM. Which one is better and what is the window period for these tests?

Regards,

Eames
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
42 months ago
The only test you want you want to us is IgG - never, ever IgM.  I think you should contact the person who ordered the test and confirm that it is indeed IgG.  It is important to note that the IgG test does miss about 30% of HSV 1 infections compared to the gold standard western blot. 
And yes, you could have had this since childhood - very common age to acquire HSV 1
Six days is about  right for the healing of a cold sore. 
Please don't feel badly about having HSV 1 - it is so common!  I have it, my husband has it, my daughter has it, my granddaughter has it, it's just very very common and for most people, not a significant problem and easily treated with antiviral treatment.  You may wish to speak with your health care provider to see if you can get a supply of antiviral medicine to have at home in the event you start to get another one of these.  It's best to start the medicine right away at the first sign of an outbreak.  Since this medicine has been released, I have been able to stop almost every cold sore at the very start without it becoming a full blown cold sore.  And not everyone treats them - treatment isn't necessary like a bacterial infection but I just don't love the way they look so I do treat. 
I hope this helps.

Terri
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