You have to differentiate between what is likely and what is theoretically possible and what is the worst possible scenario if the thing that you do not want to happen, happens. For example, it is normally accepted that people do not catch measles twice. When we catch an infection we make antibodies to fight that infection and to prevent us from catching it again. That said, it is possible to find people who have caught measles twice, so it is not impossible.
In the case of herpes simplex, the virus is usually caught on one part of the body. We even give it a different name if it is caught in a different place: 'genital herpes' or 'cold sore' or 'whitlow' (on the finger or hand). Though the virus may be confined to one dermatome, our antibodies cover the whole body and usually prevent reinfection on different sites. In other words, our bodies are primed to prevent reinfection. If reinfection does (unusually) happen, it tends to happen to people whose immune systems are weakened by other infections or conditions and not to average, healthy individuals.
If reinfection does take place (and I stress, it is rare) then you will have caught a cold sore on the lip. Around three quarters of adults have caught a facial cold sore infection by middle age and most of them notice little or nothing in the way of symptoms or recurrences. Let's not get hysterical about the common cold sore.
Shedding is most likely to be happening in the first year or so and declines thereafter. By its very nature, shedding is virus on the skin at a low level so is unlikely to be present in sufficient quantity to overwhelm the immune system on a different part of the body of a person who already has antibodies.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the User.The opinions expressed here are solely those of the User.
User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.
Thanks for your feedback.
29 of 30 found this helpful