[Question #4372] Transmission of HSV1

29 months ago
I occasionally get cold sores and have for about 25 years. I get them every couple of years or so. Last one over a year ago. I am VERY careful when I have one to not kiss anyone or share anything like chapstick, drinks etc. However I do on occasion share sips of drinks with my grandchildren and at social occasions/athletic events share drinks and bottles of water with family and friends. I make sure I do not have a cold sore. I want to make sure I'm not putting anyone at risk of getting HSV1 by sharing drinks/bottles when I do NOT have a cold sore. Can you advise? Thanks.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
29 months ago
I believe that all three of us would agree that sharing drinks of anything with other people when you do not have a cold sore is fine, and not a method of transmission of HSV 1.  I think we would also agree that the likelihood of transmitting virus in this way when you DO have a cold sore is also incredibly low risk, if any risk.  I think people over estimate the chances of HSV  transmission.  Keep interacting with your family in a normal and loving way.

Terri
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29 months ago
First follow-up, what dosage do you recommend for prophylactic Valtrex treatment for cold sores?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
29 months ago
500 mg once a day with valacyclovir and if a cold sore comes, 2 grams, then 12 hours later, 2 grams again.  That's it
Terri
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29 months ago
Final follow-up.  So, other than kissing someone with a cold sore and possibly using chapstick/lipstick, there's no other to transmit HSV1 correct?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
29 months ago
A cold sore does not need to be present for virus to be shed from the oral area.  So it is possible to kiss someone who does not have a cold sore and still transmit the virus.  It is also possible to give oral sex to someone and infect them in that way.  But you are not at risk of infecting someone by sharing drinks or food.  It requires direct contact with the tissue of another person to transmit herpes.

Terri
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