A Quick Guide To Cold Sores In Children


Does your child complain of painful sores popping up on the lower part of their face?

You’ll have to visit the doctor to be sure. But they may have cold sores.

These are small blisters that typically form around the mouth and nose. They’re caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and are characterized by itching, tingling, and burning sensations in the affected area. When these blisters eventually burst, they can cause excruciating pain that can last several days before healing.

In some cases, children with cold sores may also experience a low-grade fever, fatigue, and general discomfort. This can result in them not being their usual self, missing school, and being cranky all day, making you, as the parent, highly stressed as well.

Although not severe, cold sores can be uncomfortable and unsightly for children, making it essential for parents to understand how to manage and treat this condition. For some people, cold sores are associated with something shameful. But such a stigma is easily corrected when you get the facts about this condition.

How Are Cold Sores Transmitted In Children?

Illnesses like cold sores are highly contagious and can be easily transmitted from one person to another through close personal contact. This includes kissing, sharing utensils or towels, or coming into contact with an infected person’s saliva by any other means.

The virus can also spread when an infected person touches an affected body part, then touches other people. Children with a weakened immune system, such as those suffering from colds or other illnesses, are particularly susceptible to this. So, avoiding close contact with infected people is important.

Obviously, you can’t easily guess a person’s condition unless you can recognize the symptoms. Common-sense measures like regular handwashing and sanitation will play a key role in keeping your kid safe from diseases like this.

What Are The Symptoms Of Cold Sores In Children?

The most common signs include:

  • Small, fluid-filled blisters around the mouth and nose
  • Itching, tingling, and burning sensations around the affected area
  • Painful sores that last several days before healing
  • Fatigue and general discomfort
  • A low-grade fever

Note that not all children with cold sores will experience these symptoms. Their severity can also vary from child to child. If your child is experiencing severe symptoms or if you’re concerned about their health, it’s always best to consult a pediatrician for further evaluation and treatment.

How Can You Treat Cold Sores In Children?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for cold sores. But you can treat the symptoms and speed up the healing process in many ways. Most of the time, they go away without treatment.

But that doesn’t mean it’s totally gone. The virus can lay dormant in the body and resurface once certain conditions are met. These include illnesses like influenza, hormonal changes, and even environmental changes.

Here are some ways to alleviate the symptoms of cold sores in children:

  • Antiviral medications: Antiviral medications can help reduce the severity and duration of cold sores. They can also help prevent outbreaks in children prone to frequent bouts. Consult their pediatrician to find the right medicine for them.
  • Topical creams and ointments: These are applied directly to the affected area to relieve pain and promote healing.
  • Cold compresses: Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help reduce swelling and relieve pain.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help soothe the pain and even reduce fever.
  • Good hygiene: Encouraging good hygiene practices, such as regular handwashing and avoiding close contact with infected individuals, reduces the virus’s spread.

As is the case for many health issues, always default to your doctor’s advice when treating your kid’s cold sores.

How Can You Prevent Cold Sores In Children?

It’s important to teach children to practice good hygiene. Remind them to wash their hands regularly and to avoid touching people randomly. You should also tell them not to share items such as towels, utensils, or toothbrushes with others.

In some children, sun exposure can trigger outbreaks of cold sores. If that’s the case for your kid, apply sunscreen to your child’s face and lips when spending time outdoors.

Of course, you should help them maintain a healthy diet, get plenty of rest, and engage in regular physical activity to boost their immune system and reduce the risk of outbreaks.

And if your child develops cold sores, treat them promptly to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others.

Always Be Prepared

Although cold sores may seem severe, you’ll spend less time worrying if you know what to do. If your child is experiencing frequent or severe cold sores, consult a pediatrician for a proper evaluation and treatment plan. With the right care and management, your kids can avoid the discomfort and inconvenience caused by cold sores.

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I am Jessica Moretti, mother of 1 boy and 2 beautiful twin angels, and live in on Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia. I started this blog to discuss issues on parenting, motherhood and to explore my own experiences as a parent. I hope to help you and inspire you through simple ideas for happier family life!


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