If someone kisses a person who has cold sores (herpes simplex), will they be at risk for getting them?
Yes, they absolutely are at risk for contracting the cold sore. Colds sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex virus. Most viral pathogenic organisms are contagious and the Herpes Simplex virus is highly contagious. Not only should you refrain from kissing them but also the sharing of eating utensils and drinking after them should be frowned upon. Theoretically, once a cold sore lesion has formed a scab, it is no longer contagious.
This is of special concern in places like day cares. Young children have a habit of sticking everything in their mouth and sharing drinking cups etc. Daycare personnel should try hard to prevent this sharing.
If the sores are evident, they will definitely be at risk of getting them. The virus can be transferred to any part of the body if a cold sore is evident, so it is important to avoid kissing or things like oral sex if a cold sore has broken out.
It is also possible to catch the virus even if a cold sore is not visible. Sometimes someone might have some of the signs or symptoms of a cold sore coming on, an itching sensation or some tenderness prior to the actual sore appearing. This also means that the virus is present so it is good to be cautious then as well.