Though they may not need an introduction, cold sores are small clustered blisters that appear around the lip area. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and are often also referred to as oral herpes.

See also: What’s the Difference Between HSV-1 and HSV-2?

Causes of cold sores

According to the HSE, in many people, the virus is passed on in early childhood when they may have been kissed by a family member who had a cold sore at the time [1].With that said, there are certain factors that might result in a cold sore appearing, these include:

  • Emotional or psychological stress
  • Fatigue
  • Menstruation

See also: Neonatal Herpes: Can Babies Contract Herpes?

Can you prevent cold sores?

As the herpes simplex virus can’t be cured, there is no way to completely prevent a cold sore outbreak. Though there are ways to prevent spreading it, these include:

  • Avoid touching the cold sore
  • Wash your hands before and after applying any cream to the area
  • Avoid sharing items that may have touched the cold sore
  • Avoid kissing and oral sex

See also: Can Herpes go Away on its Own?

Although the Herpes Simplex Virus cannot be completely cleared, if you experience cold sores or are sexually active - it’s always good to know more. This can be done by partaking in regular sexual health screening with your local doctor or from home with an at-home lab test.

LetsGetChecked’s at-home Herpes Test can detect herpes simplex antibodies for either HSV-1 or HSV-2. Online results will be available within 5 days and our dedicated medical team will be there to offer a helping hand should you have any questions.

See also: How do you Check Herpes From Home?


  1. HSE. Cold sore. Online:
  2. HSE. Cold sore. Online: