Are Cold Sores Herpes?

December 3, 2017


Cold sores. Herpes. Two words that likely make you cringe from societal influence. They are undoubtedly two of the most stigmatized words today. But what exactly are cold sores? Are cold sores herpes? And why are they so controversial?


Let’s cut to the chase, yes, cold sores are a form of herpes.

The herpes simplex virus has two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Cold sores are more commonly caused by HSV-1 when, HSV-2 is usually found in the genital area. It is possible to get HSV-1 in the genital area and vice versa due to oral sex, but it’s not as common. Cold sores typically appear around the mouth, the lips, and sometimes on the nose and cheeks. Cold sores are also referred to as “fever blisters” but should not be confused with canker sores. Canker sores are found inside the mouth and are not cold sores or a form of herpes.


Why do cold sores get such a bad reputation?

Cold sores are actually very common, more common than you might think. 1 in every 4 people have herpes! Surprising, right?! So many people are affected with fever blisters and herpes, yet there is such a huge stigma associated with them. This stigma is largely due to ignorance and misinformation about the virus itself. No, you are not “dirty” or “gross” if you have cold sores. Cold sores are passed from saliva, you can get it from relatives kissing you as a child, sharing eating utensils, toothbrushes or chapstick.

The good news is, the herpes virus is completely manageable!


Although there is no cure for the herpes virus, that doesn’t mean you have to deal with annoying and sometimes painful outbreaks. Knowing what factors trigger your outbreaks is a huge key to preventing them. Do you have a huge deadline next week that you’re really stressed about? Have you been feeling sick? Did you get a sunburn on your vacation? Well, I have the answer, antiviral medication. Antivirals like, Valacyclovir, Famciclovir, and Acyclovir, actually prevent herpes blisters from forming. When you’re experiencing one of your typical triggers and you really can’t deal with a cold sore, you can take an antiviral so you don’t have to. Antivirals are safe to use, with little to no side effects and are now affordable and more easily attainable through organizations like

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