The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually given to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases.
There are no screening guidelines for cold sores.
A simple antibody blood test can show if you have been exposed to the herpes virus in the past. If you test positive, it means you could get a cold sore in the future. However, most people test positive for this virus. Therefore, this test is not very useful for screening purposes.
Herpes. American Academy of Family Physicians. Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/herpes.html. Updated December 2010. Accessed February 14, 2014.
Herpes labialis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 30, 2014. Accessed February 14, 2014.
Herpes simplex. DermNet NZ website. Available at: http://dermnetnz.org/viral/herpes-simplex.html. Updated December 29, 2013. Accessed February 14, 2014.
Kuehl B. Cold sores: how to prevent and treat them. Skin Care Guide website. Available at: http://www.skincareguide.ca/articles/herpes/to_prevent_cold_sores.html. Accessed February 14, 2014.
Last reviewed March 2015 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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