Talking to Your Doctor About Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex Type 1)
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
- What causes cold sores?
- What are the symptoms of cold sores?
- How long do they last?
- How are cold sores diagnosed?
- Are there any serious complications of herpes simplex that I should be aware of?
- Am I at risk for cold sores?
- How do I know if someone in my family had or has cold sores? What physical signs or symptoms should I be looking for?
- When are people with cold sores most contagious? Who is most vulnerable to catching herpes simplex from me?
- How do I best prevent cold sores?
- What is the best treatment option for cold sores?
- Can they be cured?
What medications are available to help me?
- What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
- Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements I am already taking for other conditions?
- Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?
- Can I make any changes in my activities that will help prevent cold sore outbreaks?
- Are there dietary changes I should make?
- Can I exercise?
- How often should I exercise?
- What can I do to help reduce stress in my life?
- Can I spread herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) from my mouth to parts of my partner’s body during sex?
- How often will I have an outbreak?
- Are there other treatments for me if I have frequent recurrences?
Herpes. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/sexinfections/sti/091.html. Updated October 2009. Accessed August 13, 2012.
Herpes labialis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 27, 2011. Accessed August 12, 2012.
Herpes simplex. DermNet NZ website. Available at: http://dermnetnz.org/viral/herpes-simplex.html. Updated June 2008. Accessed August 13, 2012.
Kuehl B. Cold sores: how to prevent and treat them. Skin Care Guide.ca website. Available at: http://www.skincareguide.ca/articles/herpes/to%5Fprevent%5Fcold%5Fsores.html. Accessed August 13, 2012.
- Reviewer: David L. Horn, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 03/2015 -
- Update Date: 03/15/2015 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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