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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » Cold Sores?

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Author Topic: Cold Sores?
The Confused One
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Okay, wtf. I'm kinda freaking out atm.

Thursday night, my lip started blistering again. Mum had always been having this problem. So yesterday, I told my parents that she transferred her genes for this lip blistering to me. She rejected the idea as if it's impossible until I started describing it to her as a sort of huge group of pimples, always itchy as hell and for some reason, always on that same exact spot.

Then she told me that I have herpes. I nearly died of shock. I'm a damn virgin, never even kissed ANYONE! How the hell did I get this kind of thing?! Or at least, those were my thoughts that morning. After reading wikipedia, I've calmed down a little, but now I'm worried.

Can this transfer over to genital herpes? How do I prevent transferring anything to anywhere? Has there ever been a... I don't know, something to stop it from ever transferring or ever breaking out again? The fact that this is permanent and that theres no cure is seriously saddening. Worse is that I've been having this for YEARS without even knowing. I was always scratching it with frenzy, always squeezing it like a normal pimple. Never even thought that it was a virus and that all that liquid can transfer...

[Frown]

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Wheeeeeeee!

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September
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Herpes is not genetic, so that is not how it was transferred to you. However, if your mother has herpes, it's very likely that you picked it up during your childhood from sharing a cup, getting a kiss, etc. This is very, very common.

Here is some more information for you:
http://www.scarleteen.com/article/infection/the_sti_files_herpes

Herpes cannot be cured, but you can keep outbreaks to a minimum by just generally supporting your immune system - getting enough sleep, eating healthily, etc. There are also medications that can suppress outbreaks, or help you heal up faster during an outbreak. This is something to discuss with your doctor.

To avoid spreading herpes, you'll just want to be careful about not sharing cups with anyone, and to keep from kissing someone while you have an active outbreak.

If you have any more questions, we'll be happy to help you.

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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The Confused One
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"or when they can feel the sensations that signal an approaching outbreak."

What does this mean? The night before the blisters appeared, the area between my chin and my lower lip started itching badly. Can that be a signal?

And yeah, my parents and I share food a lot. If she knew that it was herpes, why did she not take precautions to avoid spreading?

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September
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Some people experience an itching or tingling sensation at the start of an outbreak. Once you know what signals an outbreak for you, you can start taking precautions early (such as taking medication, and taking extra care to avoid kisses).

Herpes is super, super common. As you can see in the article, between 50-80% of people have oral herpes. So, a lot of people don't think much of it, they may not be aware of the risks of spreading it, etc.

[ 11-24-2012, 07:16 AM: Message edited by: September ]

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Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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The Confused One
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I guess the only way to confirm is if I get another outbreak and my chin itches like crazy again... I remember the itching because my parents and I started discussing on the possibility of me eating something I happen to be allergic to. So far, I haven't been allergic to anything, so that was pretty memorable.

I guess some might not be aware, but if mum knew it was oral herpes, wouldn't she have researched on it? I mean, the only time I hear the word 'herpes' is when people talk about STIs. Which is why I nearly died of shock when she said 'herpes'...

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Heather
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On the whole, a lot of the reason why a lot of people say "cold sores" -- which are a symptom of oral herpes, not a virus or illness themselves -- instead of saying Herpes or HSV is about stigma with sexual illness or infectious disease.

I'm not sure what you mean about if your mother would or wouldn't have researched oral herpes. Especially since she herself may not have known what oral herpes was or anything about it. If she always got told she had "cold sores" and was given no other information, nor had a doctor she talked to tell her about taking precautions, she wouldn't have known to.

That said, the primary reason oral herpes is so, so incredibly common -- more people have it in the world than don't -- is because most transmission happens when people are children, via non-sexual contact in families. People living so close together for so long, sharing the kinds of affection family members tend to, like kisses goodnight? It is very, very hard to avoid transmission. If your mother transmitted it to you, and from the sounds of it, she did, it probably would have happened no matter what she did. In families, when someone has oral herpes, the usual deal is that other family members either get it, or build up an immunity to it through so much exposure, just like with a lot of other infectious illness.

Oral herpes can be tested for, though, just like genital herpes can be.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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The Confused One
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"You have lip herpes" is exactly what she said. Given that the very word 'herpes' is a stigma with sexual illnesses, wouldn't my mum have looked into it? I know I did. I dont think she'd be calm about it and not ever research it if she thought it was an STI.

So you can build up an immunity to herpes? Does that usually happen before symptoms show or after? And yeah, as soon as I can, I'm getting myself tested for all possible STIs =/ I'd rather be aware of what I might have caught then remain ignorant just because I've never had any kind of intimate contact. I remember mum having the blistering since a long time ago, though it always came at random. I just assumed she kept biting her lip too hard. I don't remember getting blisters myself until secondary school, so I guess my hsving caught it was pretty recent. Which would mean I got it from sharing food with her...

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Wheeeeeeee!

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Karybu
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It's not really that you get the virus and then possibly build up an immunity - either you get infected, and wind up with cold sores, OR you become immune to it without ever being infected. Per your mum's reaction, could it just be that she's aware that oral herpes is so common and usually not a huge deal?

If you're planning on getting tested for STIs though, these are things you can discuss with the healthcare provider. Really though, so many people have oral herpes, and now that you know what it is, you can be aware that it can be transferred to any sexual partners you may have in the future, and act accordingly.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Heather
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Oral herpes isn't classed as a sexually transmitted infection, just to be clear.

We call STIs STIs because they are infections which are only, mostly or primarily transitted via sexual activity. While that's the case with genital herpes, it isn't with oral herpes. Oral herpes is primarily transmitted through non-sexual contact.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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The Confused One
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Yeah, I understand about STIs. I just associated 'herpes' with STI (social stigma, etc) and I never knew what cold sores was or that they had the same kind of virus. I guess my mum might have thought it wasn't a huge deal, though she could've told it to me in a better way so that I don't panic the way I did. Whispering 'lip herpes' to the point where I had to ask her twice to repeat what she said was not a good way. Not only was I shocked because I've never had intimate contact, but the way she said it, it was as if she just discovered that I had been having sex. With stereotype Asian parents like mine? That's a nightmare.

I really do hope they know that cold sores can be passed around in other ways. I don't think I want to have a sudden conversation with mum about having sex, especially where I probably know more about safer sex than she does. (Thanks to you guys, Scarleteen!)

That article mentioned that HSV1 can be passed to the genitals and HSV2 can be passed to the face. If HSV1 happens to pass to the genitals, does that make it genital herpes? What's the difference, really? Are there any unique symptoms that show which HSV type a person got?

As for getting tested, I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon as my parents think I'm perfectly fine (note the word perfect) and don't need to see one. I've given up talking to them about that and is just waiting for the chance to go on my own (wouldn't want mum next to me or waiting outside anyway). I'm just worried about the possibility that I might have passed this around more than I think/remember and I don't want to repeat that mistake. No one should have to go through this intense itching because of me. My ex-schoolmates and I shared food a lot too, so...

I'm just glad that it's not something as serious as I thought it was.

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Wheeeeeeee!

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Robin Lee
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HI There,

I'm sorry that the way your mom approached this made you feel ashamed and afraid. You're saying that you hope your parents know how oral herpes can be transmitted. Do you think it would be helpful to you to tell them? You could just mention casually that you were researching the itchy blisters you get and learned that people can spread the virus that causes them just by drinking from the same cup, etc.

As to hoping you didn't spread the virus yourself, you likely were not the only person at school or among your friend group who had HSV-1. Not everyone manifests the virus in quite the same way so even if you didn't know anyone who showed the same symptoms you did, it doesn't mean they weren't carrying the virus. I wouldn't worry too much or try to take responsibility for possibly having spread something that a lot of people end up with anyway. [Smile]

What do you still need to feel okay about this?

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Robin

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The Confused One
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Yeah, my parents aren't the best parents around when it comes to raising a teenager. And no, telling them myself probably won't help matters at all. If dad could laugh at me when I told him that lactose intolerance can happen in kids as young as 2-5 yo, I don't think they'd take my telling them about the cause of HSV1 seriously. He even told me 'as-a-matter-of-factly' that lactose intolerance CANNOT happen in kids my age... I'm 19... Does that mean he thinks allergies to milk products only happens in 30 yos? I don't know and don't think I want to know what my parents think anymore.

I guess it's a relief that I'm very likely to not have been the only carrier at school. I'm feeling better now, I guess it's just that I'm still shocked about this. Doesn't help at all that I thought they were pimples >.<

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Wheeeeeeee!

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The Confused One
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A few days ago, I told mum in a casual way, "The sore is gone!", which started a pretty casual and friendly banter about how her sore is worse than mine. I'm definitely relieved that she doesn't think much of it.

Thanks for helping me get through all that worry, guys! [Big Grin]

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Wheeeeeeee!

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Karybu
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Glad you're feeling better about all this!

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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WesLuck
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Enjoy your horse riding too! (from the YAY! thread [Smile] )
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