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I have a cold sore. Do I have herpes?

 
I was sitting in health class yesterday and we were talking about STIs.  My teacher said that if you got a cold sore then you have herpes.  Of course, I got a cold sore today.  Do I have herpes? Like, the STI kind?

 

Technically yes, cold sores are a form of herpes since they’re caused by the herpes virus. But there’s no need to freak, since it’s a different virus than what causes the STI kind of herpes.  Cold sores are caused by the type 1 virus, and the STI kind is caused by type 2—BIG difference.  Surprisingly, about 80 percent of Americans have been exposed to virus 1, so you’re def not alone.

 

Even though both viruses fall under the “herpes” category, they’re actually very different.  Both cold sores and the STI kind of herpes can pop up anywhere on the body, but cold sores are most likely to occur on the face.  Also, cold sores can be caught from any skin-to-skin contact like kissing or using the same silverware as someone with the virus.  The STI kind is usually contracted at a more mature age, when you're sexually active. 

 

Luckily, cold sore outbreaks can be reduced just by paying more attention to your hygiene.  Be sure to wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, and steer clear of touching your face.  Since cold sore outbreaks are often brought on by a weak immune system, getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet and de-stressing can go a long way to keeping your skin free 'n' clear of outbreaks.
 
 

BY CASEY LIEBERMAN ON 12/9/2013 12:00:00 AM

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