How Do I Know if I Have Herpes or Something Else

They often shorten the time it takes a cold sore to heal. But they work best if you put them on at the very first sign of an outbreak. Docosanol cream is available over the counter. Acyclovir (Zovirax) cream and penciclovir (Denavir) cream are available by prescription.

This article explains the similarities and differences between cold sores vs. herpes, including how you get them, what symptoms they cause, and how they are treated.

Topical acyclovir and another topical antiviral called Denavir (penciclovir) can also be used, although they are generally less effective than oral drugs. Both are available by prescription.

Cold Sores vs. Herpes: Differences, Similarities, and Treatments

Treating & Preventing Cold Sores

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HSV-1 and HSV-2 are incurable infections characterized by periods when the virus is dormant (latent) and periods when the virus is active. They are also characterized by recurrence during which the virus may spontaneously reactivate before being brought under control by the immune system.

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Official answer

Cold sores are typically caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), while genital herpes is most commonly caused by a closely related type called herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). But increasingly, more and more genital herpes cases are being caused by HSV-1 as the virus is passed from the mouth to the genitals through oral sex.

Cold sores — you might hear them called fever blisters — are proof that life can be unfair. Some people get them, others don’t. If you get them, don’t worry. There are ways to treat and prevent them.

About two-thirds of us have been infected with the HSV-1 virus. It usually comes via well-meaning kisses from relatives or romantic partners. So why do only an unlucky few get cold sores? The answer may be in your genes. Most of the people who get cold sores share genes that may relate to how HSV-1 acts in your body. This could be what causes outbreaks.

How Do I Know if I Have Herpes or Something Else

While genital herpes is not treated with topical antivirals, a topical anesthetic called lidocaine 5% ointment can be used to help ease the pain.

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Cold sores vs. herpes: Are they the same

Zovirax, Valtrex, and Famvir appear equally effective for the treatment of genital herpes. The drugs are generally prescribed as follows:

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Cold Sores vs. Herpes: What’s the Difference

Stages of a Cold Sore Outbreak on Lips, Nose, and Face

Your eyes: This is called ocular herpes, and it most often affects the cornea. It’s the leading infectious cause of corneal blindness in the U.S., so get treatment as soon as possible. Herpetic whitlow is a painful condition that affects your fingers. Kids often get it when they have a cold sore and suck their fingers or thumb.

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When Are You Contagious?

Pope. L.E. Antiviral Research, 1998.

The antivirals most commonly prescribed are:

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