Cold Sores in Babies


Some people confuse cold sores with canker sores. Canker sores are crater-like sores that typically appear separately on the tongue or gums or on the inside of the cheeks.

What are cold sores?

Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are small, fluid-filled blisters that crop up on or near the lips.

They can appear individually or in clusters. Despite their name, cold sores have nothing to do with colds.

What causes cold sores in babies?

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Herpes simplex infection type 1 typically causes cold sores, and herpes simplex infection type 2 normally causes genital herpes, though either can cause sores in the facial or genital area.

How did my child get the infection?

Somebody with the virus– probably through a fever blister or herpes gingivostomatitis– provided it to him. Most people who get the herpes simplex infection get it sometime during childhood.

For example, perhaps your child shared a cup, utensil, or slobbery dabble somebody who has the infection. Or perhaps he was kissed by somebody with the infection in her saliva (whether the individual had a visible sore).

Children can also get the herpes virus during a vaginal birth if their mom has genital herpes. You can’t send the virus to your baby by breastfeeding, though, even if you have an active cold sore.

Common symptoms of cold sores

During the first bout with the herpes simplex virus– called primary herpes– your child may have mouth discomfort (the blisters can spread out throughout the mouth during this first episode), gum inflammation, and maybe a fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a sore throat. These primary symptoms might be extremely mild, and you may not even see them.

cold sore image
Baby has cold sore

Your child will improve in about 10 to 2 Week, but the infection will stay in her body for life. In some people, the virus lies inactive and never ever breaks down. In others, it occasionally flares and activates cold sores.

These flare-ups are called secondary herpes, according to Stress, fever, and sun direct exposure– however not call with a cold sore– seem to trigger break outs.

During these secondary flare-ups, your child probably won’t have swelling of her gums or lymph nodes or a fever or sore throat, however she will have the obvious blistering on or near her lips.

Are cold sores ever hazardous?

Cold sores themselves aren’t unsafe, however it is possible for the virus to spread to other parts of the body– and that can be unsafe.

It’s extremely uncommon for a child to get a cold sore in the first 6 months or two of life, since the antibodies gotten from his mother offer some security. However if your baby is younger than 3 months old and he gets any kind of mouth sore, call his doctor immediately. In young children, in particular, the herpes infection can infect the brain and other organs, causing serious, potentially permanent or fatal damage.

Aim to keep your child from touching his eyes when he has a fever blister. When the virus infects the eyes, it’s called ocular herpes. This is a serious eye infection.

If your child establishes a sore on his eyelid or the surface area of his eye, call the doctor right now. Your child might require antiviral drugs to keep the infection from scarring his cornea. In unusual cases, ocular herpes can weaken vision and even cause loss of sight.

How to get rid of cold sores in babies?

A fever blister will disappear by itself. Here are some methods to relief any discomfort:

  • Apply ice (or a cool, wet fabric) to the sore, to assist with soreness and swelling.
  • Give your child the correct dose of a mild pain reducer, such as acetaminophen or (if she’s 6 months or older) ibuprofen. (If your child is below 3 months old, call the doctor before offering her any medication. And never ever give aspirin to a baby. It might activate Reye’s syndrome, a rare however lethal illness.)
  • Avoid citrus fruit and other acidic food (such as tomatoes) that may make the sore hurt more.
  • Attempt over-the-counter ointments to relieve the pain and help heal the cold sore. (If your child is below 12 months, examine the age recommendations on the package and talk with the doctor about what’s best for your child.)
  • If the sore is severe, the doctor might recommend an antiviral topical or oral medication.

If your child’s cold sore hurts, it might interfere with eating. If that’s the case, talk with her doctor right now.

How can I prevent cold sores and keep them from spreading out?

One peck with an infected lip is all it takes to pass on the virus.

If you have a cold sore:

  • Avoid kissing your child, particularly if he’s a newborn, until the cold sore disappears. If your child is an infant, think about using a surgical mask to cover the sore too.
  • Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils.

If your child has a fever blister:

  • Wash his hands regularly.
  • Attempt to keep him from choosing at the fever blister. (Try putting mittens or socks on his hands while he sleeps.).
  • Don’t let him share toys.
  • Do not let him share drinks or eating utensils.
  • Do not let him kiss infants.

Direct exposure to sunshine can trigger an outbreak as soon as a child has the virus. So if your child appears prone to cold sores as he grows older, sun protection is a particularly smart idea. A hat with a brim and some lip balm for defense ought to help.


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