Can You Get Herpes from Kissing?

Can You Get Herpes from Kissing?

Herpes simplex type 1 or oral herpes can be transmitted through a kiss. The following article provides information regarding the same.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Lips or rather the mouth is a place where nasty cold sores pop up. Cold sores are small, fluid-filled blisters that are painful. They appear on your face in and around the mouth and lips. There are two types of herpes virus that cause cold sores, the herpes simplex type 1 (HSV1) and herpes simplex 2 type (HSV2). The HSV2 is generally associated with genital herpes.

Transmission of the Virus

HSV1 can be transmitted through contact with the saliva or cold sores of an infected person. Thus, getting herpes from kissing is absolutely possible. Also, if a person engages in oral sex with someone who has genital herpes, it is very much possible that he/she will develop oral herpes. So, it is possible to be infected with both HSV1 and HSV2, and develop facial outbreaks of cold sores. You don't know whether the other person is suffering from HSV1 or HSV2 infection.

Getting herpes from kissing is also possible even if one does not have a visible or active herpes cold sore. This is because the herpes virus remains viable in the body even if it is not causing any blister. Almost all of us have developed a herpes cold sore in childhood after sharing a towel or other objects with infected people. Thus, the virus is there in the body, waiting to enter a weak immune system and develop cold sore.

Symptoms of Cold Sores

If you have kissed someone with herpes or performed oral sex, you may catch the infection yourself. The early symptoms include an itchy and tingling sensation on the skin where the blister is supposed to develop. This sensation occurs about a few hours or a couple of days before the blister appears. These early symptoms are known as prodrome. Apart from these, the other symptoms of include:
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Feeling sick and weak
Prevention of Cold Sores

You can prevent the spread of the infection to your loved ones by taking some precautions. If you observe any of the aforementioned symptoms, stop sharing utensils, towels, brushes, and even kissing since the virus is very contagious and can spread even before the blister appears. The virus remains contagious for more than a week before the blister, and till the cold sore disappears.

Most of the people are immune to herpes or have a strong immune system that wards off an infection. So, even if you do kiss your partner, there are chances he/she may not develop any cold sores. People who have a weak-immune system, pregnant women, as well as those who are affected by sunburn, stress, fatigue, and those who are malnourished are more prone to developing cold sores.

The bottom line is one can get herpes from kissing. So, if one develops a cold sore, be honest with your partner. It is better to have a clear conscious and even if the partner does develop an infection after kissing, the onus of responsibility lies on them. You had made it clear before kissing, you have herpes. And, if you are not sure, avoid below the belt kissing, in case you don't know your partner long enough.

Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.