ZocdocAnswersI had a cold sore about 5 years ago on my cheek. Is it possible to get reinfected at a different spot?

Question

I had a cold sore about 5 years ago on my cheek. Is it possible to get reinfected at a different spot?

I had a cold sore about 5 years ago but kissed my boyfriend who had an active open coldsore. I then got one on my cheek after kissing him. Is it possible to get reinfected at a different spot like this.

Answer

Thank you for your question. I recommend that you discuss your concern with your doctor. Many viral infections, such as the herpes simplex viruses that are responsible for many genital warts and also coldsores, can reside in your body indefinitely. During times of stress or for other reasons that are not completely understood, the virus can deactivate and then reactivate at a later point. This may occur during times of stress. The area in which the virus presents itself is not always consistent, meaning that at one time it may happen in one part of the lip, and at other times it may happen in another. New exposures can result in reactivation, reinfection, or can also represent an infection with a different type of virus. For example, in the case of the herpes simplex virus, there are two types: type 1 and type 2. There is a large body of available literature with regards to these infections available online, including the CDC website among others. There are medications available that can help to reduce the risk of transmission of this virus, which is otherwise quite contagious. Your doctor will be able to help you more to answer this question and help you prevent further problems. Please speak with your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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