Why you shouldn’t touch your cold sore
Whatever method you use, we know that waiting for your cold sore treatment to kick in can be extremely frustrating, especially if you’re experiencing a lot of pain. Feeling the need to constantly check is normal, but the problem comes when you’re doing so by touching your cold sore and the surrounding area.
We’ve all done it – whether it’s a spot, bite, scab or a cold sore – the urge to touch, itch, pick and squeeze can be overwhelming. There’s even a condition, dermatillomania, in which sufferers feel a compulsion to pick their skin.
It’s important, however, to avoid touching your cold sore at all, otherwise you risk spreading the Herpes Simplex Virus 1, and hindering the healing process. It also increases the chance of spreading the virus to another person.
If you are most likely to get the urge to touch your face when you’re sat on the sofa not doing much at home, a good trick is to occupy your hands with something else like knitting or a rubik’s cube! (Okay we know it sounds a bit pathetic, but it genuinely can help.)
Cold sores are contagious from the moment you notice that ‘tingly’ feeling right up until the skin is completely healed. They are at their most contagious when they are seeping fluid.
What we’d recommend to minimise any risk of further infection is to apply whichever cold sore treatment or ointment you use with a cotton bud or disposable gloves. It’s also important to ensure you don’t share eating utensils, lipbalms/lipsticks or a toothbrush. Direct contact – like kissing – should also be avoided as to minimise further outbreaks.