The virus that causes cold sores is most contagious when a lesion is visible and oozing. It can be spread person-to-person through close contact such as kissing, sharing utensils and drinking glasses and cosmetics.
“Keep in mind that even after a cold sore disappears, you can still spread the herpes virus, so it’s wise to avoid sharing food and drink with other people,” Dr. Turek adds.
When you have a cold sore:
- Don’t touch, pick or scratch the lesion.
- Don’t pop it, which can increase the risk of spreading it to another person or causing another lesion.
- Avoid eating or drinking acidic foods or hot and spicy foods, which can add to the discomfort.
- Avoid foods that contain amino acids such as seeds, almonds, chocolate and peanut butter, which the virus needs to thrive.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Be careful around babies, pregnant women or people with weakened or compromised immune systems.
If you suffer from frequent cold sores, have one that won’t heal, develop a high fever or have a lesion that seems to be spreading, make an appointment with your physician or other qualified care provider.