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Are Fever Blisters Contagious

Updated on February 23, 2010

Is Fever blister contagious? This is the question that has been in the air. In this article we try to find the answer, before, going into the core of the discussion it is necessary to know that different causes and symptoms of the fever blisters.

In US about 30 to 40 percent of the population is commonly affected by the fever blisters, they are also known as cold sores. They cause due to the herpes simplex virus 1 and give rise to fever blisters on the lips. They also occur at conspicuous part of the body like the nose, cheeks, eyelids, mouth and fingers, apart from lips. The herpes virus that affects a person generally remains at a dormant stage in the initial period. Then when the virus gets trigged due to certain factors and as a result blisters start appearing on the body.

Sometimes, dry or injured lips, insomnia, stress, sleep disorders or menstruation is some of the factors that become responsible for triggering the virus. Therefore, once the virus gets activated it results in blisters and gets spread around different parts of the body. There are even other causes that may result in sudden outburst of the blisters like tooth extraction, over exposure to UV rays, digestive system disorder, common cold, influenza etc. However, the question still arises “Is fever blisters contagious?” There are following reasons to answer.
The fever blisters are highly contagious and it has a tendency of spreading rapidly. All the fever blisters have particular contagious period and this is from the time when the symptoms remain active. The contagious period gets over when the blisters gets completely dried and crusted over.

The entire episode of the fever blisters can be categorized in five stages.

1. The first stage can be considered to be the tingling sensation when the blisters are going to outburst. It is generally accompanied by itching, soaring or swelling

2. The development of small blisters

3. The weeping stage and this is the most CONTAGIOUS PERIOD of the blisters. In this stage the blisters shows a tendency to rupture and produces shallow reddish ulceration, the liquid secreted is probably millions of herpes simplex virus

4. In this stage the blisters becomes dry and a scab develops with a brownish crust

5. Healing gradually is the final stage

Especially during the third stage when the blisters rupture and the white liquid secretes, is considered to be the most contagious stage. This is the time when the virus may get spread from one person to another. Apart from direct contact, infected saliva or droplets can cause infection which may come from items like eating utensils, lipstick or lip balm applicator, tea cups, toothbrush, face towel, etc.

So the answer to the question “Is Fever blister contagious?” can be explained in this way. The fever blisters may not be always contagious. At some particular stage it can be highly contagious in the weeping stage (i.e. the 3rd stage). Sometimes there are reports that blisters can be contagious even during haling process.


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