Herpes is a virus that can cause sores on the mouth or genitals. It isn’t deadly and doesn’t typically cause any serious health issues, but it can be uncomfortable and painful during outbreaks.
Once you’ve contracted herpes, the virus stays in your body for life. There is no cure, but antiviral treatments can help manage symptoms and reduce the risk of spreading the virus to other people.
Many people with herpes don’t know they have it because the symptoms are often mild or even nonexistent.
How Herpes Spreads
Herpes is commonly spread through sexual contact.
It can also be spread if you experience direct contact with:
- Another person’s herpes sore
- Saliva from a person with an oral herpes infection
- Genital fluids from a person with a genital herpes infection
- Skin to skin contact with a partner who has herpes
Even when no visible sores are present, the infection can still spread, especially during sexual contact.
Herpes viruses do not survive long outside the body. It’s improbable that you would get herpes from a toilet seat or touching any surface.
Protecting Yourself From Herpes
The best way to protect yourself from contracting herpes is to practice safe sex.
Using condoms can reduce the risk of spreading or contracting herpes, though herpes sores can occur in areas not entirely covered by condoms, so they won’t eliminate the risk.
If you have herpes, avoid sexual contact when you have an outbreak. The virus is most contagious during this time.
Have an open conversation with your partner about your herpes status before having sex. Make an informed decision based on the risks involved.,
See a doctor if you think you may have contracted herpes or have any questions or concerns. They can confirm the diagnosis and help you find the best treatment options.
Staying Safe in the Bathroom
Although it’s very unlikely you will catch herpes from a toilet seat, it’s still important to practice good hygiene in the bathroom.
More dangerous bacteria and viruses can spread through contact with contaminated surfaces and are commonly found in bathrooms.
Wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet.
Clean and disinfect surfaces in the bathroom, including the toilet seat, sink, and countertops.
Be especially mindful of what you touch when in a public bathroom. After touching door handles, towel dispensers, air dryers, or other surfaces that may be contaminated, avoid touching your face and clean your hands thoroughly.
If you know you have a contagious infection, take extra care to avoid spreading the virus. Stay at home when you are sick and clean any shared surfaces you have touched.