There is more to cold sores than we think an article reveals:
Genital herpes: Can you get it during oral sex with someone who gets cold sores?
Ask anyone who gets cold sores and they’ll tell you how unpleasant these little sores and blisters can be.
Cold sores, which usually appear on your lips or the skin around your mouth, are also known as oral herpes and are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). This virus is also responsible for blisters and sores in the genital area, known as genital herpes.
So if you have cold sores, is it possible to give your partner genital herpes?
Unfortunately, the short answer is yes, according to sexual health physician Terri Foran.
To understand why — the first thing you need to know is that there are two types of HSV. In the past, HSV type 1 (HSV-1) was most commonly seen on the lips (usually as cold sores), while HSV type 2 (HSV-2) preferred the genital area.
However, in recent years doctors have seen more cases of genital herpes caused by HSV-1.
If you have oral HSV-1 and your partner doesn’t, you can spread it through any type of sexual contact where the mouth comes into contact with their mouth or their genitals — and sometimes the buttocks and legs as well. This explains why some people have the same type of herpes on both their lips and their genitals.
More alarmingly, Dr Foran said you don’t even need to have any outward sign of cold sores to spread the virus. Perfectly normal looking skin can still shed lots of viral particles — sometimes even more than when the blisters are actually present.
Who gets herpes?
Lots of people have cold sores, and lots of people have oral sex — so why don’t more of us get genital herpes?
The reason is because during childhood, most of us (perhaps 80 per cent) are exposed to type 1 of the herpes virus, Dr Foran said.
“Some people never have any symptoms [and] become completely immune. In others, the virus quietly hangs around in the spinal nerves, only to erupt months or years later,” she said.
It’s also important to know that only 1 to 2 per cent of the population actually get the typical oral blisters that most of us would call cold sores.
The good news is, often people who have already been exposed to oral HSV-1 in the past, build up an immunity which stops them getting type 1 genitally.
“Unfortunately they can still pick up HSV-2,” Dr Foran said. “Thankfully whether you have type 1 or type 2 genital herpes, it tends to be less severe and less frequent over time and that means you are less likely to infect a partner.”
Although exposure to HSV-1 during childhood is common, Dr Foran said there was evidence that in the last 20 years, exposure rates had dropped. There are lots of theories as to why, including a change in hygiene practices and maybe less chance of exposure with smaller family groups.
But what this means is that now nearly 80 per cent of genital herpes diagnosed in those under 20 turns out to be HSV-1 — presumably spread through oral sex.
“And we are also seeing more genital HSV-1 even in older age groups,” Dr Foran said.
Interestingly, the first attack of genital HSV-1 is usually more severe than genital HSV-2, but it comes back much less often.
How can you protect yourself?
If one of you gets cold sores and the other doesn’t (or isn’t sure), what steps can you take to protect each other?
Unfortunately, most people spread the HSV-1 virus to a partner, infecting their lips, genitals or both, simply because they have no symptoms themselves and therefore no idea that they carry the infection.
For those who do get symptoms, there may be tell-tale signs like redness, tingling and itching even before the blisters actually erupt.
“From these early symptoms and until the blisters are completely healed, it is important to give oral sex a miss, or to use a condom or a latex dental dam (for women) to protect your partner during oral sex,” Dr Foran said.
And if you don’t have a dam, Dr Foran said, you can cut the end off a condom and cut up the middle to give you a sheet of latex that you can use as a do-it-yourself dam.
“The flavoured ones taste much better!” she said.
If frequent cold sores are a problem, there are now effective treatments available for controlling the symptoms.
“Some of these can actually stop an attack in its tracks if taken early enough,” Dr Foran said.
But unfortunately, there is no evidence that the use of these treatments lessens the risk of spreading the virus to a partner — and there is no cure yet for either type of HSV, though scientists are hard at work on a vaccine.
Putting it into perspective
According to Dr Foran, many of us carry HSV on the lips or the genitals without ever knowing it — and without ever passing it on to anyone else.
“But there is still a lot of confusion about this virus and many people are unaware that the same virus that causes cold sores can cause genital herpes as well,” she said.
“It just goes to show that safer sex is still important — and that goes for oral sex as well.”
The sources of this article was taken from ABC health and wellbeing click here for the sources
It is obvious that the cold sore symptoms are unseen it is vital to work on foods and activies that will lessen the effect of the sores. This in my opnion will ensure that even if who already have contracted the cold sore it doesn’t become a major problem upon you being sick. REMEMBER THE SAYING “PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE”. All in all your health should always be at a top level. I have compiled a lists of foods to keep you at an optimal health level in fighting the cold sores as well as natural healthy ways and healthy tips to lessen these effects:
Vitamin C rich food: Lemons, oranges, broccoli, spinach, red berry, tomato
Vitamin E rich food: Nuts and avocado
Natural lifestyle ways: Once it starts developing do not disturb it, discontinue kissing (Yep, I know) as this will spread the virus easily during this period.
I hope these healthy living tips for controlling your cold sores will be beneficial to you.