Cold sores, or fever blisters, are small groups of blisters on or around the lips and mouth. You may notice that the skin around the blisters is red, swollen, and sore to the touch.
Within a few days the blisters could open up, giving way to a clear fluid that will eventually scab over after a few days. Cold sores could take anywhere from several days to 2 weeks to heal.
Cold sores are a result of herpes simplex virus type 1. Though type 2 is genital herpes it is possible to get genital herpes from having oral sex with someone who has a cold sore. This is particularly true during times of a primary outbreak. While washing with soap and water immediately after sexual contact can decrease the risk of transmission it’s important to take other precautions as well.
Dental dams are a good way to protect yourself against herpes and other STDs when engaging in oral sex.
Herpes simplex type 1 is transmitted by way of oral secretions or sores on the skin. You can become infected by simple acts such as kissing or sharing toothbrushes or utensils. Though an individual can only get a type 2 herpes infection by engaging in a sexual act with someone who has a type2 infection, you should know that both types of herpes can potentially be spread even if there are no sores present.
Cold sores usually heal on their own after a couple of days, however, if they’re causing you pain or embarrassment your doctor might prescribe skin creams, ointments, or even pills. These treatments will only get rid of cold sores up to 1 to 2 days faster, but herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores cannot be cured. Once infected, the virus that causes herpes remains in your body for the rest of your life.