Are All Cold Sores Herpes?

Cold sores are pesky bumps that show up around the mouth area — typically on the lip or just under the nose. They stay for longer than a week, are highly contagious and can sometimes be quite painful. But are cold sores herpes?

 Are All Cold Sores Herpes? Learn More About Herpes Simplex
Photo by National Institutes of Health

Cold sores ARE caused by herpes — but not in the form we most associate with the word. There are two types of the herpes simplex virus, and cold sores are generally the result of HSV-1. This type of herpes typically produces outbreaks around the lips and face. The other kind is HSV-2, which usually appears in the genital area. While it is possible to have both forms of herpes simplex at the same time, having one does not necessarily mean you have the other.

The two types of herpes simplex have many differences, but there is one similarity worth noting: once you get one of the herpes viruses, you cannot get rid of it. HSV-1 outbreaks (usually cold sores) occur differently for different people, so it’s important that to note that fact. Some people will have a cold sore outbreak once their entire lives, while others that carry the virus can get cold sores every other month.

Is a Cold Sore an STD?

Getting a cold sore does not necessarily mean the appearance of an STD. You can receive the HSV-1 virus through shared towels, utensils or cups, although it can be transmitted through sexual activity. HSV-2, on the other hand, is considered an STD.

The answer to the original question is yes. Cold sores are herpes, but HSV-1 is typically considered less painful and irritating than HSV-2. Cold sore treatments are much simpler than genital herpes treatments, although creams and ointments are available for both.

It’s important to consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns involving HSV-1 or HSV-2.

Herpes Treatments

Our cold sore treatment relieves mouth discomfort during the time of the herpes simplex outbreak and can help it heal quicker if used properly. The Aidance herpes outbreak treatment also helps relieve discomfort, pain and itch — helping them clear up faster than ever.

3 responses to “Are All Cold Sores Herpes?”

  1. Apply ice to the affected area for five or ten minutes,
    every hour to avoid fever blisters from developing further.
    Ice may also ease the pain linked to a fever blister.

  2. Hello there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content.

    Please let me know. Thank you

  3. Bianca Scartabello


    Yes, of course! Please do 🙂


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