Cold sores recur because the herpes simplex virus which causes them doesn’t leave the body. While cold sores, a common symptom of the virus, disappear, the virus stays dormant until something triggers another outbreak.
Cold Sores and the Herpes Simplex Virus
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) usually causes cold sores, while herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) usually causes genital lesions. However, either strain can cause cold sores.
Touching someone with a cold sore, through cuddling, kissing, or sex, for example, is a common way to get HSV-1. The virus can also be spread when sharing food, drink, towels, and other items with someone with a cold sore. You can contract HSV-1 from contact with someone with the virus but no visible cold sores.
Triggers That Keep Cold Sores Coming Back
Once you have HSV-1, there’s no fool-proof way to stop cold sores occurring. However, taking antivirals can help reduce the frequency of the outbreaks. Having a healthy body and immune system can also reduce the chance or outbreaks from occurring. The following factors all increase the risk of cold sores returning:
- Reusing glasses, towels, eating utensils, bedding, and other items you used when you had a cold sore without thorough cleaning.
- Using lip balm, lipstick, or gloss you’ve used when you had a cold sore.
- Spending a lot of time in the sun, especially without sunscreen.
- Feeling stressed.
- Eating fatty and sugary foods.
- Not getting enough sleep.
If you have recurring cold sores, antiviral medication, like valacyclovir, may help reduce the number and frequency of outbreaks. If you’ve been previously diagnosed with herpes, Nurx can prescribe oral herpes treatment online and deliver the medication to your door with free shipping. To request herpes treatment from Nurx, get started here.