The virus that causes cold sores is herpes simplex 1, or HSV-1, which makes cold sores VERY contagious.1 While many people think cold sores are most contagious when the blisters rupture, virus replication peaks early in the episode, within hours of the time symptoms are first felt. These symptoms include: tingling, itching and/or a burning sensation around the mouth.2
Because cold sores are so contagious, you must take appropriate precautions to avoid spreading them to others. Below are four tips for preventing the spread of cold sores.
Wash Your Hands2
How often do you think you touch your face per day? For most of us, the answer is a lot. Because of this, it’s important to wash your hands with hot water and soap throughout the day – not just before you eat or after you use the restroom. Washing your hands with hot water and soap can help prevent the cold sores from spreading because every time you touch your face you could be spreading the HSV-1 virus to your hands.
The best defense for cold sores is to avoid getting them in the first place. Stress, falling ill or getting too much sun are three common triggers for cold sores. Once you get your first cold sore, the likelihood of getting another one later increases significantly. In regard to getting too much sun, always wear sunscreen, and make sure to apply lip balm on days you know that you’re going to be outside for a long period of time.
Yes, “sharing is caring,” but not when it comes to cold sores! When you have a cold sore, chances are good that the HSV-1 virus has spread to your mouth and hands. Because of this, we recommend avoiding sharing drinking glasses, cups, utensils, etc. until after your cold sore has completely healed. It is very easy to pass cold sores by sharing items like these. Cold sores can also be passed through lip balm and toothbrushes. If you feel a cold sore coming on, don’t share. Personal hygiene items like toothbrushes or lip balm should never be shared.
Cold Sore Treatment
While there is no cure for cold sores, there are treatments that can help reduce the frequency and duration of cold sore outbreaks. Sitavig® (acyclovir), 50mg Muco-Adhesive Buccal Tablet is a One & Done spot treatment that has been shown to stop cold sores from developing when taken at the first sign of an emerging cold sore. To learn more about both Over-The-Counter (OTC) and prescription cold sore treatment options, consult your physician.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Sitavig should not be used in patients with known hypersensitivity to acyclovir, milk protein concentrate, or other components of the product.
Sitavig has not been studied in pregnant women or in immunocompromised patients and no interaction studies have been performed. Sitavig’s safety and efficacy have not been established in pediatric patients.
Sitavig is a Pregnancy Category B product; therefore it should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit outweighs the potential risk to the fetus. It is not known if Sitavig is excreted in breast milk; however, systemic absorption is minimal.
In a controlled clinical trial Sitavig’s most common side effects (greater than or equal to 1%) were: headache (3%), dizziness (1%), lethargy (1%), gingival pain (1%), aphthous stomatitis (1%), application site pain (1%), application site irritation (1%), erythema (1%) and rash (1%). In the same trial these side effects ranged from 0%-3% for placebo.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch.com or call 1-800-FDA-1088.