Advertisement

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

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.

Continue Learning about Oral Herpes (Cold Sores)

What is the difference between cold sores and shingles?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
Colds sores and shingles are distinct viruses, but you can think of them as cousins since they have ...
More Answers
Where can cold sores develop?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
In most cases, an outbreak of oral herpes, or cold sores, will develop in the lip area. However, it ...
More Answers
Is oral herpes contagious?
Ronald G. Glass, DDSRonald G. Glass, DDS
Yes, the fluid in the blister of oral herpes is the most contagious. After the blister breaks and an...
More Answers
What is oral herpes?
RealAgeRealAge
Oral herpes is a virus that causes blisters on the lips or tongue. Transmission occurs easily th...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.