Herpes on the lips – a contagious disease?


How is herpes transmitted on the lips? Who is at risk of infection? How to prevent infection by a disease? Read about it in our review..

Colds on the lips is an extremely common disease. According to scientists, it affects more than 90% of the world’s population, and you can detect the presence of the herpes simplex virus in the body of almost any person. Therefore, the question of whether herpes is transmitted on the lips can be called relevant only in one case – when it comes to infection of a person who had not previously had contact with the patient. These people usually include small children..

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How to treat cold sores on the lips

Why is herpes dangerous for your child?

Being in the mother’s body, the baby receives from her not only useful substances necessary for growth, but also primary immunity. It remains with the baby about six months after birth and is a guarantee that the baby will not get sick with those diseases for which the mother’s body has already developed protection. The same goes for the herpes virus. However, the child’s primary immunity gradually goes away, leaving the right to his immune system to independently get acquainted with the outside world.

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How to treat cold sores on the lips

In this case, the later the baby encounters the herpes virus, the better, since primary infection in early infancy is extremely dangerous. It can cause acute inflammatory conditions, lead to serious disorders (up to the development of meningitis), and leave a negative mark on the rest of the child’s life.

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How to treat cold sores on the lips


That is why each mother is extremely important to know whether herpes is contagious on her lips, and try to protect her baby from collision with him for as long as possible. The more or less safe period of meeting with this infection for the first time is the age of 4 years, when the child’s immunity is strong enough to cope with the disease without complications.


How the disease spreads – herpes

The herpes virus is one of the most resistant to the environment. It does not die in frost and high air temperature, it is stored in water. But its amount in space, as a rule, is not enough to infect a person. Therefore, the most likely way to transmit herpes on the lips is direct contact with the patient. It can happen according to several “scenarios”.


To take and touch the sores on the lips of another person is almost a 100% guarantee of transmission of the disease. During this period, the virus is especially active and easily penetrates tissues, mucous membranes. Can I kiss herpes on the lips? Definitely not, if you do not want to reward your loved one with exactly the same “decoration”. By the way, in this case we are talking not only about people who have never had cold sores. Even a person infected by him (and such as we said, more than 90% of the adult population) with developed immunity will receive a relapse of the disease, since the number of viruses in his body will increase above the maximum permissible “norm”. Therefore, sick with herpes can not be kissed, much less engage in oral sex. In the latter case, the disease is guaranteed to occur on the genitals.

Airborne transmission

The incubation period of herpes on the lips is 7-30 days after the initial infection. Subsequently, throughout the life of a person, it is present in saliva, the secretion of the mucous membranes, semen and vaginal secretions. But its volumes are small, but during the period of illness with acute respiratory infections or influenza, the virus actively develops. Therefore, during coughing or sneezing, the patient is carried through the surrounding air by airborne droplets. If people are nearby, the virus settles on their mucous membranes and provokes infection.

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How to treat cold sores on the lips

Transmission by household contacts

A herpes sufferer is dangerous to others not only by itself. If after treating the affected area, he does not wash his hands, a large number of microbes will remain on them and move there, to which the person touches. Door handles, faucet valves in the bathroom, forks and spoons in the kitchen – it is believed that in this way the disease spreads so massively, affecting almost all people without exception.

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How to treat cold sores on the lips

Herpes transmission prevention

So, herpes on the lips is contagious or not, we know. Contagious and even very. A more relevant issue is its prevention and its feasibility. Why do we need prevention, you ask, if everything around is infected with its virus?

For infants, prophylaxis is essential to prevent the worst course of the disease in infancy. For this, a sick mother needs to wear a gauze bandage whenever she approaches the baby (for feeding, swaddling). And always wash your hands to prevent the accumulation of infectious bacteria on them.

In other situations, prevention is also advisable, if only in order not to cause exacerbation of the disease in others. For prevention should:

treat cold sores on the lips – the infectious period lasts exactly as long as the ulcers persist. After this, you can no longer use antiviral agents, limiting yourself only to wound healing drugs for the treatment of herpes;

avoid direct contact – for about 4-7 days you will have to forget about kisses and affection, in which the microbe affects the mucous membranes of the partner;
do not treat wounds with bare hands – always use cotton swabs to apply ointments. It is both convenient and hygienic;

to wash hands – ordinary soap repeatedly reduces the risk of infection of others from indirect contacts;

use personal dishes, a towel – basic hygiene rules protect your loved ones from unpleasant sores on the lips.

Now you know the features of herpes on the lips – how many days are contagious, how it is transmitted, how to prevent its spread. We hope that our tips will help you.!

You may also like our article: Getting rid of cold sores on your lips yourself: emergency care 

Good luck!