Oral Herpes Transmission

Although the majority of North Americans have contracted oral herpes at some point in their lives, the majority of the infected do not display symptoms (are asymptomatic), so there is not as much information about the transmission of oral herpes as there should be.

In a nutshell, it is not worth worrying about transmitting it if you are between outbreaks. It is possible to transmit oral herpes when no cold sores are present, but because so many adults have it (some stats are as high as 80 – 90%), it is not worth foregoing intimacy altogether due to the fear of transmission.

To cautiously avoid passing it on to someone who may not have it, it is recommended to avoid kissing anyone if you are experiencing an outbreak. It is also advised to avoid engaging in oral sex during outbreaks as well.

Also be aware that oral herpes and genital herpes are not the same thing, so avoid engaging in oral sex with someone who has contracted genital herpes, particularly if they are experiencing an outbreak. Even when they are not, protection – such as condoms or dental dams – should be used.

Most importantly, avoid kissing a baby or touching a baby with unwashed hands when you are experiencing a cold sore outbreak. Though rare, this can be fatal to the baby who has not built up their immune system to the point where they can fight the infection.

Outside of these minor inconveniences, oral herpes should not be a major cause for concern, particularly since stress can cause (or lead to prolonged) outbreaks. As long as cold sores have completely healed, the chances of transmission within any activity are very low.

Although the majority of North Americans have contracted oral herpes at some point in their lives, the majority of the infected do not display symptoms (are asymptomatic), so there is not as much information about the transmission of oral herpes as there should be.

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