Preventing Fever Blisters
Because fever blisters are extremely common, it can be hard to prevent them. If you have never had a fever blister, avoid skin-to-skin or mucous membrane contact with someone who has an active infection. Avoid sharing items that may have come in contact with the fever blister. For recurrent fever blisters, you can learn to control your triggers and try using sunblock.
For thousands of years, fever blisters have been common in society. This is no different today. In fact, it is thought that just within the United States, up to 80 percent of children and adults have had at least one fever blister during their lifetime.
With so many people having fever blisters, prevention is quite difficult. Add to this the fact that most people become infected before they are 10 years old, and you can see why the virus that causes fever blisters continues to spread year after year (see Causes of Fever Blisters).
However, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself from getting fever blisters. If you have had a fever blister, there are things you can do to help prevent a recurrence or to avoid spreading the virus to uninfected people.
If you have never had fever blisters, there are things you can do to protect yourself. These prevention strategies include the following:
- Avoid skin-to-skin or mucous membrane contact with a person who has an active fever blister
- Avoid sharing items that may have come in contact with a fever blister
- Avoid receiving oral sex from a person with an active sore.
The herpes simplex virus (the virus that causes fever blisters) is spread by direct skin-to-skin or mucous membrane contact. It is highly contagious when fever blisters are present. While the virus is frequently spread by kissing, it may also be spread by sharing things such as utensils, napkins, drinks, toothbrushes, towels, or razors that have come in contact with a fever blister.
Children often become infected through contact with parents, siblings, or other close relatives who have fever blisters. A child can spread the virus by rubbing his or her fever blister and then touching other children.