Cold sore; Fever blister; Herpes simplex - oral; Oral herpes simplex
Avoid direct contact with herpes sores. Minimize the risk of indirect spread by thoroughly washing items such as towels in hot (preferably boiling) water before reuse. Do not share items with an infected person, especially when they have herpes lesions. Avoid triggers (especially sun exposure) if you are prone to oral herpes.
Avoid performing oral sex when you have active herpes lesions on or near your mouth and avoid receiving oral sex from someone who has oral or genital herpes lesions. Condoms can help reduce, but do not entirely eliminate, the risk of catching herpes from oral or genital sex with an infected person.
Both oral and genital herpes viruses can sometimes be transmitted even when the person does not have active lesions.
Haile-Mariam T, Polis MA. Viral illnesses. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 128.
Habif TP. Warts, herpes simplex, and other viral infections. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009: chap 12.
Review Date: 12/07/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.