Question

Oral Herpes (Cold Sores)

If I have a cold sore, how long is it contagious?

A Answers (2)

  • AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    If you have a cold sore, it will be highly contagious the entire time it is visible. It will be most contagious when fluid begins to leak from the blister or blisters that have formed. This fluid contains the infectious virus that causes cold sores. When you have a cold sore, don't share anything that touches your lips, such as cutlery, dishware, or towels. And if you happen to touch the cold sore, wash your hands right away.
  • As long as you have a cold sore, the virus is still contagious. An outbreak of oral herpes should go away in about one or two weeks. During this time, do not kiss or share personal items with anyone to prevent spreading the virus.

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How long do cold sores last?