Herpes Simplex

Treating your child for cold sores

No one likes to get cold sores, and they can be especially painful in children. Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex, a viral infection that causes lesions on the skin. Cold sores are one form of this virus; other forms of it can include fever blisters, hand, foot and mouth disease, and genital disorders like genital herpes and warts.

While herpes simplex can be painful, it's rarely serious. However, once your child has herpes simplex, he or she has it for life, with outbreaks and dormant periods possible.


Types of herpes simplex

There are two types of this virus: herpes simplex 1, and herpes simplex 2. The first form of the virus is generally concerned with hand, eye and mouth lesions. Cold sores, hand sores, and eye sores are common with this type. Herpes simplex 2 is anogenital, which means that it presents with painful genital sores and warts.

Symptoms of herpes simplex include a general feeling of malaise and then a breakout of the lesions on the mouth, hands, eyes or genitals. The lesions can be simple sore bumps or they can crust over. Normally, herpes lesions are very painful. As well, the virus goes dormant, but viral shedding can still be possible. This is why it is never advisable to kiss your child on the mouth while he or she is having an outbreak of herpes simplex.

Treatment for herpes simplex

There is no treatment that will cure herpes simplex. Instead, doctors choose to treat the painful sores. If the sores are in the mouth, a salt water rinse can help. If they are on the skin, there are over-the-counter creams to take that will heal the cold sore and take away the pain. There are also anti-viral medications that can be given for severe forms of the virus.

While herpes is painful, it is rarely serious. If you find that your child is suffering from viral outbreaks frequently, see your physician for more advice to help your child be more comfortable. Another form of treatment may be possible for herpes simplex to help your child feel better.