Q. Can a child with atopic dermatitis get infected with HSV from touching a cold sore of the infected person?

Answered by
Dr. Shubadeep Debabrata Sinha
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 23, 2023

Hello doctor,

I have a question about HSV 1 and 2 and their infectious ability on surfaces outside the host. My sister has a cold sore and keeps touching everything without washing her hands. My child has atopic dermatitis. I fear him contracting an infection with HSV that can be life-threatening. Therefore, I want to know about the life span of HSV 1 and 2, and the asymptomatic shedding of both types as well. Do I need to worry?

Please help.



Welcome to

I went through your query and understood your concern.

The herpes simplex virus in a cold sore is contagious. It can spread to others by kissing, sharing cups or utensils, sharing washed clothes, or touching the cold sore before it is healed. The virus can also spread to others within 24 to 48 hours before the cold sore appears. Herpes viruses isolated from patients with oral lesions were found to survive for as long as two hours on the skin, three hours on cloth, and four hours on plastic.

I hope this has helped you.

Thanks and regards.

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