In addition to the pain and tenderness that occur before and during a breakout, cold sores profoundly affect quality of life. According to a recent survey, 50 percent of respondents identified that cold sores gave them a negative self-image and limited their social lives. In fact, many Canadians who suffer from cold sores are afraid to tell others about having the virus, including friends, family and sexual partners. Further, outbreaks often influence quality of life due to embarrassment and have been linked with depression, fear of rejection and isolation.
People with cold sores must also take precautions:
- Never touch an open sore and then your eye, as it can result in herpes keratitis.
- Avoid touching the open sore and other areas of your body including other areas of the lips
- Avoid touching a new-born baby, as newborns can be infected by exposure to HSV, the virus that causes cold sores
- Use condoms or other barriers during oral sex to reduce the risk of transmission.
The pain and discomfort related to cold sores are best managed with the help of your doctor.