Cold Sores without Chickenpox

Many people affected by cold sores wonder whether there is a connection between cold sores and chickenpox. Chickenpox is also triggered by a virus from the herpes family namely by the Varicella-Zoster-Virus, also called shingles. This virus normally is transmitted during childhood by saliva and it causes itching blisters. Afterwards the patient is immune to this form of the disease for the rest of his life. But the virus which stays in the body can be reactivated when the immune system is weak. This can happen years later and appears in the form of shingles (herpes zoster). The symptoms are often seen as a rash in form of a painful strip on one side of the body. Not all people who have suffered from chickenpox will get shingles later in life. Only 20% of the affected people develop shingles. However every shingles attack is a consequence of an underlying primary infection by the varicella zoster virus.

There are around 8 different herpes viruses. Each produces different symptoms independently from each other. Therefore someone who had chickenpox as a child will not develop cold sores from that source. The two diseases’ symptoms are triggered by two different herpes viruses appearing only if an infection exists with the corresponding virus. Unfortunately immunity to chicken pox will not protect against cold sores and vice versa so it is possible for a person to have both problems at the same time.

It is important to know that herpes viruses can be transmitted through contact infection to a region of the body where this virus normally doesn’t appear, i.e. if a person with cold sores kisses someone on the cheek it is possible that the herpes virus is transmitted and cold sores appear on the cheek. This means of transmission is possible in every region of the body. Therefore the risk of infection is even higher from intimate contact during a period when cold sores are active. It is much more likely that this is the source of a new infection later in life when blisters appear on the face and elsewhere triggered by the same herpes virus (HSV I) and are not generally connected with chickenpox or shingles.

Cold sores without Chickenpox

Cold sores without Chickenpox

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