Herpes simplex is easily spread when the viral skin lesion appears, but, it is also spread at other times too. People sometimes notice itching, tingling or other sensations before they see anything on their skin. These sensations are called “Prodromal Symptoms” and indicate the virus may be present on the skin. Herpes is most likely to be spread from the time of these prodromal symptoms to the time when the area is completely healed and the skin looks normal again. Contact with the infected area is very risky during this time.
One can also spread the virus from the location of an outbreak to other places on their body by touching their own sores. Fingers, eyes, and other body areas can accidentally become infected in this way.
Preventing self-infection is important. Do not touch the area during an outbreak but if you do, wash your hands as soon as possible with soap and warm water. This will help prevent the virus from spreading further.
The spreading of genital herpes by such things as soap, towels, clothing, bed sheets, toilet seats, and spa surfaces is highly unlikely because the herpes simplex virus cannot live very long outside of the body. Remember, herpes is generally spread by direct contact.