In term of your aunt - you do not have to worry about contaminating her at all. Since she has history of these cold sores that means she already has the virus (same virus as you do) and you cannot recontaminate her. This virus lives in the body forever. The reason you get cold sores more often then your aunt is because you are under more stress and because your sleep cycle is irregular. Your aunt's life you are making comfortable and, therefore, her virus stays inactive.
In terms of your eye...cold sores are caused by herpes virus. The virus lives in the body and again, wakes up to cause symptoms during the times of decreased immunity (stress can cause decreased immunity). The virus lives in the nerve cells and usually occurs the lips and nose but it can affect the eye, however, I do not believe that you can get the virus in your eye just by rubbing the eye, especially since it was several hours in between the contact. However, I am not 100% sure about this so I will check tomorrow with some of my colleagues and get back to you with a more certain answer. In the meantime, I would not worry about it. As many people as I know who have cold sores (including my husband who has really bad ones when they come up), I have never seen it transfer into the eye.
So I will get back to you tomorrow.
Have a good night,
Good morning Beth,
Ok, so I have consulted with some of my colleagues and the senses were that although it is possible to transmit the virus into the eye, it is highly unlikely.
First, the cold sore needs to be opened (which it usually does a few hours after it forms), also you would have actually needed to poke your eye and touch the actual eye (not the lid) in order to transmit the virus. We worry about a condition called herpes keratitis which is the herpes infection of the eye (but not the eyelid). So I really don't think you are in any danger. Plus, the virus doesn't live that long on the dry surface of the skin (like your hand) so probably there was no virus by the time you rubbed your eye.
Probably 8 out of 10 people have this virus, it is really not a big deal but it does cause the ugly sores when it activates. You can take Valtrex (anti-viral medication) which is very very helpful but you need to take it as soon as you feel one developing (or as soon as possible) and medication will stop it from getting bigger. The dose is 2000 mg 12 hours apart (only 2 doses). We always have this at our house for my husband to take as soon as he feels one coming.
Usually the cold sores are contagious until they crust up. Not all of them are seeping (actually most don't), some just appear, get somewhat open/moist, and then crust. When they crust, they are no longer contagious. They usually always appear in the same spot because their activation happens through the nerve fibers.
I also hope that one day a cure can be found for many disorders, especially ones that can be so life-debilitating. Millions and millions of dollars go in research and something new always develops. There is always hope :)
Just want to let you know...I will be out of town from Saturday to Tuesday and most likely will have no access to a computer. So just in case you post a question for me and I don't answer, you will know why.
Thank you so much.
Happy easter to you as well.