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10 Mistakes to Avoid When You Have Oral Sex with Cold Sores

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex type 1 or HSV-1. It’s highly contagious and can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Therefore, many people with cold sores may want to avoid infecting their partners. Here are common mistakes that people with cold sores need to avoid when giving oral sex.

  1. Giving oral sex with cold sores- When is it safe?

There are two main types of herpes infections: cold sores (oral herpes) and genital herpes. While cold sores result from HSV-1, genital herpes are caused by HSV-2. Cold sores are described as painful sores or blisters on the lips, around the mouth. Genital herpes are painful sores that appear on the genital and anal area.

If you have a cold sore, avoid having oral sex until you get it treated completely. Giving oral sex while having active cold sores can make your partner be infected. Here are some helpful steps for you.

  • Respect yourself and respect your partner. Talk to your partner if you have a cold sore. Abstain from oral sex until your cold sore has been completely healed.
  • No kissing, no sharing foods, drinks or eating utensils.
  • Let your cold sore outbreak run its course. Wait until you have no symptoms or your lip is completely clean and clear.

Related: Cold Sores: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What happens if you have oral sex with cold sores?

If you carry HSV-1 and develop cold sores, the virus can survive in your mouth and lip. When you give your partner oral, you transmit the virus from your mouth to their body. Oral sex involves the transfer of bodily fluids. To this case, your saliva and cold sore blister fluids may transfer HSV to your partner. So if you have an active cold sore, avoid having oral sex to limit the spread of HSV.

What happens if you have cold sores and give oral sex

Cold sores

  1. When are cold sores at their most contagious?

Cold sores are most contagious when blisters pop out, break open and ooze fluids. If you have these symptoms and you give oral sex, you can transfer the virus to your partner. Before a visible sore appears, HSV-1 can also be contagious. So, take the few tips below to avoid cold sore transmission.

  • From the initial to the eruption stage, cold sores are highly contagious. Avoid having oral sex during these stages.
  • When blisters ooze, oral sex can cause some issues for you and your partner. For example, it worsens the symptoms and delay the healing process.
  • Avoid oral sex is the best deal when you have an active cold sore.
  1. Are cold sores contagious in the scabbing stage?

When cold sores form scabs, this doesn’t mean it’s no longer contagious. There are small cases in which some triggers peel off the scab and cause transmission. So, engaging in oral sex during the scabbing stage may also be harmful for you and your partner. A few tips below can help you.

  • A fully closed scab cannot be contagious. So, wait until the cold sore is completely scabbed over. DO not pick at a scab.
  • After the scab stage, wait 3-4 more days. That’s the best time to have safe oral sex.
  • Turn off to abstain until your lip is healed.

Related: What Are the Stages of Herpes Outbreaks?

Cold sores are scabbed

Cold sores are scabbed over

  1. Can oral sex cause cold sores?

Oral sex can definitely be a trigger of cold sores. Several other factors can also cause cold sores, for example,

  • Stress
  • Cold weather
  • Fever and illness
  • Sunlight
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Hormonal changes

To avoid an outbreak, you need to get receive immediate treatment and avoid oral sex.

Related: Discover Your Cold Sore Triggers

  1. How long does it take for cold sores to disappear?

On average, it can take from two weeks to one month for cold sores to heal. To make the infection disappear quickly, treatment is the key. You can opt for several forms of antiviral medications. ProsurX is one of the best over-the-counter antiviral cream for cold sores. It helps to relieve symptoms and stop an outbreak before it starts. The cream also helps to kill the HSV, thus preventing recurring cold sores. Often, applying ProsurX cream 2-3 times a day can help to heal cold sores within several days. Some other treatments for cold sores include:

  • Penciclovir cream
  • Acyclovir ointment
  • Oral medicines such as Famciclovir and Valacyclovir
How long does it take for cold sores to heal

Apply antiviral cream for cold sores

  1. Can HSV-1 give you HSV-2?

Because there is no change in the virus itself, HSV-1 cannot become HSV-2. In fact, HSV-1 only infects the areas of the lip or around the mouth. After the first outbreak, it will stay dormant in that same region. HSV-2, on the other hand, is different. Once entering the body, it can move to the spinal nerves. So apart from the genitals, HSV-2 can infect other regions around the genitals.  

  1. Can HSV-2 infect the mouth?

HSV-1 can never become HSV-2. But, you can get HSV-2 on the lip or mouth region. Similar to HSV-1, it enters the body through tiny cracks on the mouth or lip. This occurs from giving oral sex to someone who has HSV-2.

  1. Can you get HSV from giving oral to an infected partner?

That will happen in case:

  • Your partner has active HSV on their genitals
  • You get cuts and tears in the membranes of your lips and mouth

So avoid performing oral sex on a symptomatic partner to lower risk of getting HSV.

Related: How Can I Prevent My Partner From Catching Herpes?

Can you get cold sores from oral sex

Cold sores and oral sex risks

  1. Are cold sores a sexually transmitted disease (STD)?

Cold sores are a common infection. Having these does not mean that you have an STD. It just means you have HSV-1. If you get HSV-1 on your genitals from an infected partner, this isn’t considered to be an STD.

Having oral sex while having cold sores can be risky. If you’re infected with HSV-1, get it treated immediately. Besides, avoid oral sex until you’re free of the symptoms. This can help protect you and your partner from the infections.


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