Cold sores are a prevalent ailment in children. Sometimes called fever blisters, cold sores develop around the mouth and are spread through direct contact with others with the herpes simplex virus or HSV. Seeing a cold sore develop on your child can be distressing, but there are steps that you can take as a loving parent to ease your child’s comfort and limit repeated infections.
How do I know if my child has a cold sore?
Once your child has the herpes simplex virus, it will stay in the body, causing cold sores to erupt either randomly or due to a particular trigger. Over time, you may notice that your child develops one or more cold sores if they:
- are stressed or anxious
- are excessively tired
- have been sick or had a fever
- are generally run down
- have injured their mouth
A cold sore starts as a red blister and can then erupt before drying out and scabbing over. As a parent, it is essential to chat with your children about the symptoms of cold sores and how they can best stop their spread.
How can I explain the symptoms and causes of cold sores?
As your child ages, they will be more in tune with their own body and the symptoms relating to a cold sore outbreak. However, even if you don’t feel your child is old enough to fully understand, having open and honest conversations with them at their current level of understanding is helpful.
Feelings like tingling can be explained to like ants walking on your arm. Itching and burning sensations are other symptoms of cold sores that your child may understand if explained in different ways. Ask your kids to tell you when they feel these things so that you can try to start treatment as early as possible.
Cold sores are spread with direct contact with the sores, so it is important to show your child how you can express affection in other ways. Kids might enjoy developing a secret family handshake rather than good night kisses during this time. This is also the ideal opportunity to talk about hygiene practices in general with your family. Washing hands and not sharing cups or towels can limit the spread of cold sores and other infectious diseases.
What can be done to help my child with a cold sore?
Your family doctor will be able to prescribe medication or suggest over-the-counter products appropriate for your child’s age. Although cold sores generally go away within about two weeks, there are also home remedies to speed along the process or limit reinfection.
Plenty of rest and limiting stress is best for people of all ages. Children young and old will also enjoy an increase in frozen treats like juice bars, while spicy or acidic foods should be avoided. Luminance Red has shown very promising results by using LED technology to reduce the severity of cold sores and limit future outbreaks.
As a parent, there is real inner turmoil when you see your child suffer from any illness and a cold sore is no exception. Once you know that your child is prone to cold sores, speak openly as a family about prevention and treatment as there are new options available.