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TheGermDoctor, Doctor
Category: Health
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Experience:  17 years as a physician, Board Certified in both Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine.
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I spent a night with a friend who has a bad cold sore on her

Resolved Question:

I spent a night with a friend who has a bad cold sore on her lower lip. We didn't kiss but I touched other parts of her face with my cheek. We did have sex.
Today I feel a light tingling in the corner of my mouth. It could be psychosomatic, but it feels out of the ordinary.
Is there anything I can do today to reduce my short term and long term chances of herpes?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  TheGermDoctor replied 6 years ago.

Hello pablo-

the incubation period for herpes is generally about 2-10 days ( typically 6-8 days). It is not clear to me if you were exposed to your friend yesterday, or if it has been a few days. If it was just yesterday, the symptoms you have right now likely would be unrelated. If it was several days, then a "tingling" feeling could indeed be an early symptom of herpes simplex.

The couple things to remember are that a large majority of people have been exposed to HSV ( herpes simplex virus). This is the cause of the common "cold sore" or "fever blister" on the lips. And so even if you became infected, it is not that unusual, and not that serious a condition. Also if you had any contact with her face, you could have been exposed- even without kissing her exactly on a lesion.

At this point there is not anything I would do. There is no effective/ proven "post-exposure" treatment. Even if your tingling turns into a herpes sore- it will likely only last a couple days. If it is severe, then you may consider an antiviral medicine like acyclovir pills, or Denavir cream topically, but again, in the vast majority of cases this is not needed as symptoms are mild and sores resolve in a couple days ( and medical therapy only shortens that by a small amount).

Good luck.

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