Patient discussion about Herpes simplex virus

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Q. Are cold sores contagious?

My boyfriend has cold sores on his mouth. Can I catch it from him? If so, how can I prevent catching it?
A1Cold sores contain the HSV-1 virus, which is the herpes simplex virus . While your boyfriend has cold sores, he should wash his hands often, especially after touching his face. He shouldn't share cups and eating utensils with others since he is very contagious. You should not kiss him or touch the cold sores either, in order not to be infected.
A2The virus that causes cold sores is known as the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV, type I and type II. Cold sores are usually caused by type I. Herpes simplex infections are contagious. You can catch the virus by kissing your boyfriend or having other close contact with his sores or even from having contact with other parts of his skin that appear normal but are in fact shedding the virus. People are most contagious when they have active blister-like sores. Once the blisters have dried and crusted over (within a few days), the risk of contagion is significantly lessened. Therefore, it is best that you don't come in physical contact while he has the cold sores, since he is contagious. However, a person infected with HSV can pass it on to another person even when a cold sore is not present. This is because the virus is sometimes shed in saliva even when sores are not present.
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