Thirty pct of New Zealanders avoid dating due to their cold sores - study

  • 25/03/2024
Thirty pct of New Zealanders avoid dating due to their cold sores - study
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A new study on cold sores in Aotearoa found 80 percent of those afflicted by the common virus say it negatively impacts how they feel about themselves, with 30 percent of Kiwis avoiding dating due to it.

Conducted by APOHEALTH Famciclovir Once the research surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2,019 New Zealanders aged 18 or older with the results suggesting a greater need for education about cold sores.  

From feelings of self-consciousness (58 percent) to embarrassment (46 percent) and unattractiveness (41 percent), the study paints a picture of cold sore sufferers opting to hide away from their social lives.

More than half (57 percent) of the survey's participants confessed to altering their work or social arrangements due to the presence of the virus. The research found that among those affected, Gen Z individuals were the most significantly impacted, with over 80 percent adjusting their plans when confronted with a cold sore, and 60 percent avoiding social interactions entirely.

"A cold sore is a small, sometimes painful blister that typically forms on or around the lips or inside the mouth," said Amelia Gardner, a registered pharmacist based in Hamilton.

"Caused by the herpes simplex virus, cold sores can recur periodically throughout a person's life.

"Up to 80 percent of the population carry the virus which can cause cold sores, so we shouldn't really be so concerned with what other people think, because it's highly likely the person we fear is judging us probably has the virus too. While the virus can be spread through saliva and skin-to-skin contact, basic hygiene practices and limiting intimate physical contact will help to limit the spread."

The survey found more than one in five Kiwis also don't realise a cold sore is a result of a virus (21 percent) or that it is a condition that, while treatable, isn't something that can be completely cured (22 percent).  

"What this shows us is the need for greater education on what the cold sore virus is, how it spreads, and the best way to manage it should it be something you come into contact with and begin to develop. Having a cold sore is absolutely not the end of the world," said Gardner.