Hold on “Kiss Me, I’m Irish”– Watch Out For Oral Herpes This St. Patrick’s Day
We all know that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but you may to want skip wearing a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirt or button for this year’s festivities! Think twice before you pucker up because about 50 to 80 percent of adults in the U.S. have oral herpes (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1/HSV-1).
Oral herpes is an incurable disease and is spread by person-to-person contact. Some common ways to contract oral herpes is through kissing or sharing items like eating utensils or cups, chapsticks or lip balms with someone who is infected.
Don’t see a cold sore? Not so fast!
A cold sore or fever blister does not have to be present in order to spread HSV-1. It is far less likely, but certainly possible to pass oral herpes on to another person when an outbreak or sore is not present.
HSV-1 can also be spread to the genitals, also known as genital herpes/HSV-2. If an individual has an outbreak and has oral sex with someone it is possible to give someone HSV-2.
Once infected with herpes, it never goes away. It may lie dormant and asymptomatic for years before causing an outbreak. This is much of the reason so many people do not realize they have the virus and, consequentially, end up spreading it to others.
We know that St. Patrick’s Day is a blast– with all of the parades, feasts and local pub debauchery with green-dyed beer, but don’t push your luck this St. Patty’s Day by kissing strangers or letting them kiss you knowing the statistics. If you think you might have been exposed to herpes, get tested today.