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What increases my risk for viral skin infections?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Viral skin infections are often, but not always, caused by direct contact with an infectious virus, so your risk of infection is increased if you have such contact with an actively infected person. For example, someone with an active cold sore is very contagious, and you could contract the virus by touching or kissing the sore area. Some viruses can live for short periods of time outside the skin, so your risk may also be increased if you share many items and/or living surfaces with an actively infected person. Common warts are an example of such an infection. Viruses can enter your body through skin cuts or abrasions, as well as through moist areas of your skin such as your mouth or around your eyes. Having cuts in your skin, even ones that aren't visible to your eye, puts you at further risk for viral skin infections. People who have compromised immune systems may also be at greater risk for viral skin infections.

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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.