Herpes Simplex Infections (Cold Sores) - Diagnosis

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

Describe the symptoms and events that resulted in a doctor's diagnosis of a herpes simplex infection.

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver


* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!


I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the black square:

How is oral herpes diagnosed?

The diagnosis of herpes (cold sores) is usually based solely on the appearance of the lesions. Less commonly, viral culture or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are used to help in the diagnosis of herpes infection.

Swabbing the blister in an attempt to culture the virus in the lab is only productive in the first 48 hours and before the blister has crusted over. If lesions resolve, then cultures are of no help, because there's nothing to culture. Culture results take a minimum of three to five days.

PCR testing detects herpes DNA, but it is not as readily available as culture. PCR is done on clinical specimens obtained from swabs of active lesions as described above.

Blood tests are often irrelevant, since finding antibodies to herpes just means that the body has been exposed to this virus at some point in the past. It does not determine if the current lesion is due to herpes.

If the diagnosis is in doubt, the best approach is to encourage the person to see a doctor at the first sign of a sore. That will allow the clinician to see active lesions that can be tested by culture or PCR.

Return to Cold Sores (Nongenital Herpes Simplex Infections)

See what others are saying

Comment from: macy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 08

I have these sores for about 10 years now but now its reocurring faster than before its occurs wants I have my periods or before that I still don't know what happen I did go to the clinic but they didn't go away.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

STAY INFORMED

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!