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Dr Patty
Dr Patty, OB/GYN (Doctor)
Category: OB GYN
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Experience:  OB/GYN 35 years of practice including teaching, pregnancy & GYN issues
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How long does the Herpes Simplex 1 virus live outside the body

Resolved Question:

How long does the Herpes Simplex 1 virus live outside the body? I have a roommate who recently had a fever blister around her nose. She seemed to be constantly touching it and sometimes not washing her hands afterwards. I wonder if it would be possible for me to contaminate my own bedding just from coming in contact with any inanimate objects she may have come in contact with during her outbreak.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: OB GYN
Expert:  Dr Patty replied 5 years ago.
There is no set amount of time how long it can live outside the body, but when body fluids dry, the virus is dead.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
So if any clothing of mine were to have come in contact with anything she touched, and I slept in my bed and several days later had sex in my bed there would be no danger of transmitting the virus to me or my boyfriend via the bedding? I am a complete germaphobe and I have worried myself sick thinking that my boyfriend could have transmitted the virus to me somehow during sexual activity by coming in contact with bedding first that could possibly be contaminated.
Expert:  Dr Patty replied 5 years ago.
No- not if it was several days later. Virus need a host in order to survive so they cannot live very long at all on an inanimate object at all.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Her fever blister started almost two weeks ago and I am sure it has healed by now. I have been very careful during this time to wash my hands frequently but I do sleep in my bed every night and I worry that my clothing could have transferred the virus to my bedding somehow. Therefore possibly putting me and my boyfriend at risk. A total of more than twelve hours went by from the last time I was in my bed until any sexual activity occurred. Is it safe to say there was no risk involved because of the time frame?
Expert:  Dr Patty replied 5 years ago.
With this time frame it would be impossible for the virus to still be alive, so you don't have to worry about transfer.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Would the risk be greater if less time had passed?

Expert:  Dr Patty replied 5 years ago.
As I said above- when fluids are dry, then the virus is dead. There is no way to give you an exact hour as to when this occurs, as it depends on many variables. But certainly in 12 hours time, there would be no viable virus as it would be long dead.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I don't mean to be a pest. I have just worried myself sick. Like I said, I am a complete germaphobe and I constantly worry about things like this. I hope too that my boyfriend is at no risk at all of contaminating himself by laying on his stomach on the bed afterwards? I wonder too how come the virus can still be detected on inanimate objects after it is dead? And what precauutions can I take in the future to prevent giving myself such stress???
Expert:  Dr Patty replied 5 years ago.
There would be no risk of giving it to him after all those hours- I can assure you that it is long dead after that. I am not sure how to prevent your stress, but it would be best to do proper handwashing, and I would also somehow stress to your roommate about these behaviors and about adequate handwashing so no one else is infected.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I do suffer from oral HSV 1 myself already but my boyfriend does not. I understand that this in itself lowers my risk of contracting genital HSV 1. Am I correct? And the occurance of sexual intercourse doesn't change any of your answers does it? I may not have been very clear when I referred to sexual activity.
Expert:  Dr Patty replied 5 years ago.
Yes- you are correct in all respects and my answers are the same.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

So even if my boyfriend's penis touched the bedding right before intercourse with me there would still be no risk of either of us contracting the virus due to the time frame and the virus being dead?

Expert:  Dr Patty replied 5 years ago.
If it was 12 hours, there would be no chance of infection.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I'm out of the bed at 630 am and no sexual intercourse occured until after 700 pm that night. And like I said I do proper handwashing and I usually shower every night before bed and I normally don't sleep in the same clothes twice. However, sometimes it happens. I don't know if that would affect anything or not. I appreciate you being so patient with me. I just have to ease my mind somehow. I believe my worries have become a real concern. I have developed this new obsessive compulsive disorder that is starting to affect every day life. I'm thinking I should seek professional help for it.

Expert:  Dr Patty replied 5 years ago.
I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about. If you do have an obsessive compulsive disorder this is something you need to discuss with your regular doctor, so he/she can refer you to a specialist.
Dr Patty, OB/GYN (Doctor)
Category: OB GYN
Satisfied Customers: 1729
Experience: OB/GYN 35 years of practice including teaching, pregnancy & GYN issues
Dr Patty and other OB GYN Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I greatly appreciate your time and compassion wih this matter. You have made me feel so much better and put my mind at ease. I have an appointment with my regular doctor for the OCD I seem to have developed. Maybe then I can get back on the right track and stop letting this affect my life so much. Once again, thank you so much!
Expert:  Dr Patty replied 5 years ago.
You are welcome and thanks for using Just Answer!!

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