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Can Herpes live outside the body?

Discussion in 'Spreading and Preventing Herpes' started by xmex, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. xmex

    xmex Newbie

    Everyone always says that if you have oral herpes and you touch it and touch another part of your mouth, ears, nose, etc, you can spread it but

    If someone else has herpes on their mouth and touches it and then
    touches an object, such as a doorknob, a file cabinet handle,
    paper, a pen, or even if you go shake their hand, etc.... If you
    go and touch that object it after they do, can you get it?

    How long does it stay alive on these objects?
  2. Christie

    Christie Newbie

    Herpes cannot live outside the body for very long at all. It is virtually impossible to acquire it from anything else other than sexual transmission...etc. (Less than 1%) I believe one must come in direct contact with an open herpes lesion in order to be in any real danger of contracting it. If anyone tells you that you can get it from a doorknob or a toilet seat, tell them to do thier research, because everything I've read (and I've done a lot of reasearch) and every doctor I've talked to has told me there is really no way that could happen. Hope this helps! :D
  3. xmex

    xmex Newbie

    yea, but can someone that has herpes on their mouth/nose and/or eye go and touch it or scratch it then go and touch a door knob, a file cabinet handle, a pen, press a button on a copy machine, or whatever object it may be and then someone comes behind them and touches that same object that person just touched and then touch their mouth/eye/nose and get it?

    Or can a person that already has hs1 touch that same object and touch an area and trigger an outbreak?????

    How long can it possibly live outside of the body? How long will it last on that persons finger or hand, whatever he touched the open lesion with?

    I heard from a doctor that herpes can live underneath your finger nail if you scratch it for up to 6 months, is that true?????

    Thank you.
  4. Christie

    Christie Newbie

    I'm not quite sure EXACTLY how long herpes can live outside the body, but it is not very long. If in fact it could, then everyone would be getting it from touching things...etc. and it would not be called a sexually transmitted disease anymore. If you read anything on HSV, the way its transmitted is from genital to genital/skin to skin contact. There have been no documented cases, according to my doctor, of anyone contracting herpes from touching a doorknob and the like.

    I think the chances for this are very low. That would be kind of like becoming re-infected with herpes after touching something...which is not possible.

    Take this with a grain of salt, I'm not a doctor, and I don't want to give you mis-information. Since you seem to have very specific questions, I'd suggest sitting down with a doctor and asking them these. Honestly though if you want my opinion, there is nothing to worry about here.
  5. fastforward

    fastforward Member

    You are not going to contract herpes from that guy or girl in your office who has the cold sore/fever blister!! Get over that thought, because it is that kind of ignorant thinking that causes social stigma. 60% of us have oral herpes- usually from childhood when your mother or father give you a night night kiss, or Aunt Sylvie kisses you when she arrives to visit from Ensenada or someplace. By the time we are in our fifties, 80-90% of have oral herpes.

    As for the doctor who told you herpes could live under a fingernail for six months, please post his name. We'd all like to give him a call. The only way that happens is a herpes condition called Herpes Whitloe, a condition usually acquired when a guy fingers a girl with HSV-2 genital infection.

    So, give your co-worker a break and some kind words. You're making your life and his/hers miserable with this kind of irrational thinking.
  6. xmex

    xmex Newbie

    Thank you Christie and Fastforward for your info.

    It helps.

    It just makes me wonder, cause I have had HSV-1 for about 13 years now and I havent gotten an outbreak for 2 years now. Is it because I have been more careful or not? I dont know.

    I have noticed in the past several years that my outbreaks were normally from sun exposure.... I just would think you could get it from touching certain things, but I guess I was wrong based on your information.
  7. Christie

    Christie Newbie

    Your welcome! You probably have been experiencing fewer and fewer outbreaks because your body has built up enough antibodies to combat your HSV-1 virus so that it is not really a problem anymore. UV radiation, i.e. sun exposure has been said to trigger outbreaks, or reactivate the virus already in your system, not because you have been re-exposed to it. Please don't worry about getting it from touching things, it just isn't going to happen.
  8. peppermintpatty

    peppermintpatty Active Member

    :? tomginc... Well I'm scratching my head after reading your post honey.. but I'm sure it's not because of my herpes.
  9. herpesvictim

    herpesvictim Newbie

    I researched herpes survival outside of body and found some interseting articles;

    survival in cold temperature

    survial in water

    survival on fabrics

    According to Dr. Jonathan Jacobs, a professor of clinical medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, It is possible for herpes to enter intact skin. He said "Herpes can infect through intact skin, but it is much more common when there is a break in the skin,".
    Check the following link for Jacob's statement in a herpes case.

    Keep in mind surviving of virus is one thing, and getting infected by it is another. Infection may depend on other factors such as skin rubbing, skin penetration etc.
  10. blondiegirly

    blondiegirly Newbie

    Herpes can pass from objects

    OK this angers me when i see people giving advice about somthing they know nothing about !! I personally picked up herepes from an object.... I know this becaue i already had one strain for 3 years.. When i outbreak it doesn't even last a full 2 days nor get to the outbreak phase once i pop my pills .. Recently Saw a woman at work with herpes.. 3 days later i showed up with a huge outbreak on my chin.. Went to the doc he said by the size and intensity it seems like a reinfection.. Ive had no contact with anyone so I can only assume It was from the girl at work.. Then after this strain finally healed my first strain of herpes broke out 2 days later... Ask a doctor !! the reason so many pepople have oral herpes is because of this .. I'ts spreads so easy and is more likely you will pick it up as a kid from touching somthing with the virus ..that's becasue you don't have a great immune system as a child ..Notghing like an adults, so you can easily pick up herpes... That is why they say about 80% of people have this disease... A younger doctor would know this .. older docs in my experience don't seem to have the new data .. I've talked about my disease with so many docs.... So people be careful never take that chance to pass sterilelize anything you touch after touching your sore... Don't touch the sore if possible!!!! I've read many forums on this site where people are givng out the wrong info and possibly causing otehrs to pass this disease.. Remember you can't belive everything you hear!!! talk to many docs as i have .. You will learn the corrrect facts
  11. blondiegirly

    blondiegirly Newbie

    If thats true why did i catch it from a co-worker? read my post below ..Look don't go around misinforming people!! It may not be likely But i caught that way!! so yes its more than possible you can catch from a co worker Read my experience learn from and try not go around giving out info you don't knwo about!!!
  12. Blueskies

    Blueskies Active Member


    You said you already had it. If you already had it then you probably just had another outbreak. Why would you think you got it from her again when it was already in your system? That just doesn't make any sense.
  13. KillThisBeast

    KillThisBeast Member

    Typically, viruses can survive as long as the bodily fluid they come from has not dried up. For example, if someone with HIV bleeds on the ground, and you fall on the blood and it is exposed to compromised skin, you could contract the disease. If, however, the blood stain has dried, then the virus is most likely dead and there is no chance of transmission.

    As far as herpes, I assume it must come from direct contact. It would have to be almost deliberate to contract herpes from indirect contact. Just because what we think something is true now doesn't mean that we won't change our minds about it later though. From what is understood, it must be direct contact. That can be during an outbreak OR NOT during an outbreak!
  14. MsLucy

    MsLucy Well-Known Member

    A virus is parasitic by nature, and needs two things to survive... a living host and an anaerobic (low oxygen) environment. Inanimate objects, such as doorknobs, file cabinets, or toilet seats, provide neither. Consequently, the virus cannot survive outside the body. Period. Check any legitimate pathology book and find out for yourself if you're in doubt.

    Even if you came in contact with a live virus with your hand, it would need an opening, such as a break in the skin, to enter your body to survive. Otherwise it would die quickly on the surface from being exposed to the oxygenated environment, and from the lack of an accomodating host.
  15. liedto

    liedto Active Member

    well obviously

    There logically could be no documented cases from touching a doorknob, because the doctor tells the patient where it might have come from and then documents as fact what he just told the patient. If the patient asked about the doorknob the doctor would say no and would just quote what he read from a text book in medical school; document that; and then that documentation would later be compiled with other doctor's documentations as evidence to support what is in the text book; hmmm? Nothing like old tradition to stand as evidence of fact :rolleyes:

    One thing is for sure, that patient is now in that group of people who just don't have a clue who they got it from.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  16. MsLucy

    MsLucy Well-Known Member

  17. Now let me preface my statement by saying that chances are really low that one would get Herpes from inanimate objects.

    However, I would like to see studies that have been done on the Herpes virus. Not all viruses die off quickly when exposed to the air and away from the host.

    Hepatitis B virus can survive outside the body at least 7 days. During that time, the virus can still cause infection if it enters the body of a person who is not infected. Hep B virus has even been shown to survive in dried blood.

    Now the other end of this spectrum is HIV. We all know it is very fragile and dies in the air. If a male sleeps with a HIV infected female the odds are very low that he would get it from vaginal intercourse. Of course they say with a condom 100% protection from HIV. If HIV was like the Herpes virus or Hep B virus our world would be even in more trouble.

    Now the methods of transmission for Hep B and Herpes have something in common. Hep B can be transmitted through kissing and so can Herpes. I'm not saying Herpes can survive as long as the Hep B virus, but any virus that can be transmitted through kissing is very contagious.

    Again odds are low that one would get from inanimate objects but just by seeing how Herpes is spread so easily the survival rate of the virus outside of body should not be downplayed.

    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
  18. totalregret

    totalregret Active Member


    i have been told many many times that if you already have the virus you can't be reinfected. you already have cold sores, hsv 1, then you can't get hsv 1 again. you can't get what you already have.

    did you kiss or drink out of your co-workers glass? the virus takes skin to skin contact to transmit. and some friction. kids can get it much more easily from a glass, etc.

    if somehow you came in contact with hsv 1 possibly your own virus was reawakened, but really, you can't have hsv 1 twice...u can't get what you already had.

    there is a nurse at http://www.ashastd.org/ who has years of experience with herpes. i would believe her over strangers on a board. post ur story there if you really want to know and let us know what she says. would be good info for everyone i am sure.
  19. Not only is I impossible to catch HSV1 more than once, it is impossible to catch ANY virus more than once without mutation of the virus or the individual being severely immunocompromised
  20. Amalia

    Amalia Active Member

    Have you ever tried on pants in a store? How many of us would have herpes from trying on clothes? I remember the 70s when they didn't have the "sanitary strip" in bathing suits or the "please leave your underwear on for hygienic reasons" in
    stores before you tried on a bathing suits.
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