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The Doctors Lounge - Primary Care Answers

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Forum Name: Oral and dental diseases

Question: Sore on Lip

mynameismissy - Thu Apr 08, 2004 2:37 pm

I just started dating a man, and when I saw him yesterday he had a sore on his lip. He says he gets them from eating a lot of citrus. (We shared an orange the night before, and the sore was there in the morning.) It was not red and on the edge of the lip as most cold sores I've seen. It was white and in the middle of the bottom lip, and looked more like a canker sore, which from personal experience I know can be caused by acidic foods. However, in my research I see that canker sores are supposedly inside the mouth only. Do you think that this sore is contagious, or really just a food reaction? I have been kissing him...and getting cold sores is one thing that I never want to do. Thank you.
Dr. Russell M - Mon Apr 19, 2004 11:53 am


Herpetic infections of the lips are quite common and could be transmitted to others as well as re-infect self by autoinoculation (eg. touching the lip sore and then wiping the eyes). As you rightly pointed out, canker sores are not found on the lips/gums/palate.

Topical (to apply over the lesion) antiviral medications may reduce viral shedding and increase patient comfort. For recurrent sores, that might not be enough, and emollients may be tried. If the recurrence is more than 6 time a year, oral antiviral medications may be tried so as to prevent it from happening. Immunodeficiency is another reason oral antiviral meds may be begun.

Hope this helps.

Warm regards,


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