Dealing with Cold Sores

Now before there’s cyber uproar about the H-bomb I just dropped and blew your mind with, I’d like to let you know that yes, they are contagious and yes, that’s why almost everyone has them — cold sores that is. But the fact is, the term “cold sore” is merely a socially-friendly way of evading any association with the stigma that is attached to herpes and odds are, dormantly attached to you. 

The misinformation about oral herpes only further perpetuates peoples’ naivety about the contagious virus; the same virus clueless carriers are unknowingly spreading around to the rest of us. And for those of you judgmental, herp-free individuals who think oral herpes is exclusively caused by unprotected gang-bangs, I’d like to give you a brief, somewhat shocking reality check: It’s not. If you’ve managed to defy all laws of nature — as you’ve surely shared a drink, a kiss, or whatever it is you’ve been smoking in your lifetime — then congratulations because you’re the lucky minority. 

However, you may believe yourself to be herp free, but in many cases, if you haven’t yet broken out with a viscous, cluster of doom, you may still have the virus but have yet to experience your very first outbreak… Ah this is already beginning to sound like the makings of a real love story. If you do in fact have it, and generally the incubation time is two weeks (however some can go years without one), eventually, one will erupt with the fury and vengeance of Mount Vesuvius, raining ashes of pain and humiliation upon you. What’s worse is that there’s no cure or vaccine. 

There are two tests available, one is done by swabbing the area in question, and the other, a blood test. If you haven’t yet had an outbreak, but you’d like to be tested for the virus, a blood test can only tell you whether or not you’ve been infected, however it cannot determine where on your body the virus will pop up when it becomes active.

So, yes, “cold sores” blow, and speaking of which, I’d like to also tell you that the dreaded and stigmatized “genital herpes,” commonly believed only to be contracted by the likes of the real man whores and super skanks, is the same thing that appears on your lips. The only difference is that with oral herpes, we have the luxury of calling them cold sores, which is practically adorable in comparison to saying “I have genital herpes.” 

So, next time you’re feeling frisky and considering foreplay, remember that the virus is transmitted through the skin and on contact. So use protection before your “cold sores” become someone else’s genital herpes. And yes, know it alls, there are two types, but here’s the bad side of it: Both HSVI and HSVII can appear on either parts of your body if they come in to contact with one another, meaning the only real difference between  genital herpes and oral herpes is location. But boy does it sounds like it would be a lot more uncomfortable to have a herpes outbreak on your downstairs bits.

Now that I’ve practically scared the herpes out of you, and I mean that literally, I think I’m getting a cold sore just from writing about this. Let’s talk about the treatment. Most of us have heard of Valtrex and since many of us assume that cold sores and genital herpes are two different things, the majority of us also think that Valtrex doesn’t treat cold sores. 

Well, now that you know you have oral herpes — hooray! — You know that Valtrex, the herpes wonder drug, can treat it! When taken over time, the virus will become weaker, making outbreaks less severe. So, get to your family physician and tell them about your herp-uation, and they should be more than willing to write you a prescription. 

From 8-years-old on, I would get oral outbreaks that were so severely painful and embarrassing that I’d miss school. But finally after years of fierce, often monthly outbreaks, my doctor put me on Valtrex. After a year of taking this drug on a daily basis, outbreaks were fewer, farther in between and much less serious. After you get Valtrex on your side as an internal treatment, ask your doctors about the external kind — a wonder-cream called, Zovirax. This stuff makes Abreva look like a total scam in comparison. However, for those with mild outbreaks, Abreva may work just fine for you.

Rules to Keeping Yourself and Others Herpes Free:

1. Symptoms often include burning itching and redness. But don’t behave foolishly and scratch the area like a feral cat — or worse squeeze it like a pimple. The more you poke and prod at it, the more likely it is to spread across your entire mouth, so do yourself and everyone’s eyes a favor and leave it the hell alone. 

2. Once you’ve gotten your Valtrex, your doctor may recommend you take them everyday for a year, or only when you feel one coming on. Do so depending on what your physician instructs. Once you have gotten your Valtrex sidekick, Zovirax or Abreva, do not slather it all over your lips like it’s the newest shade from Nars. This is a spot treatment, meaning apply it only where it belongs.

3. If you even suspect the onset of symptoms or the herp-demon has already manifested itself on your pretty little lip, do not share a kiss, a drink, sexy time or whatever the hell else, with anyone you don’t hate with a thriving passion. I once slapped a full glass of iced tea out of a friends hand when she went to take a sip from my infected straw. Yes, we were in public, and yes, I would expect you to do the same for someone you care about.

4. Factors that cause outbreaks include stress, some form of friction or irritation to the lip, lack of sleep, an illness, and sun exposure. Some of those things you really can’t do a damn thing about but what you can do isget a lip balm that is loaded with SPF and do your best to control the rest.

5. If something questionable pops up that you’re not sure about, keep your mouth to yourself until you see your doctor so they can swab it and test the area to be sure it is in fact what you think it is and then treat it accordingly.

Reprinted from



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