Cold sores which are also known as fever blisters are very small lesions which appear round the mouth and lip. They are caused by the herpes virus which can be contracted through a cut in the skin either in or around the mouth. It’s very common to pick up the virus from parents who spread it to their children through utensils or kissing.
Once a person has contracted the virus a flare up can happen for a few different reasons, it’s very common that those who are very stressed or tired will experience a break out and that certain weather conditions and hormone changes will make an impact too.
What are the symptoms of cold sores?
It is important to know that cold sores are very contagious so it’s good to keep that in mind if you do start to experience signs either yourself or see them in your child.
In the first instance you might begin to notice a tingly or itchy patch around the area which will then turn into one or two blisters. These blisters then join together and can even start to release a fluid, and later scab. Once the area has scabbed over it is usually around two to four weeks until the symptoms disappear and can sometimes take longer.
You may also have other symptoms during an outbreak including: muscle aches, pain in the area, sore lymphs or eroded gum tissue but this is very rare.
Treating cold sores in children
Currently we don’t have any cure for cold sores and so it’s highly recommended that if you do notice the signs that you pay a visit to your paediatrician. Sometimes people think seeing their dentist in Tunbridge Wells is the correct way to go, but it’s unlikely your dentist will be able to support you in this particular case. It is very important that you do see someone though as you need to get an understanding of where the virus has come from and whether or not your child has in fact contracted the herpes virus.
In order to ease their sores at home you can get some ice and/or warm cloth to apply to the area. There are some over-the-counter treatments available, but it’s best to consult with a pharmacist on this.
Preventing cold sores
Cold sores we’ve already mentioned are highly contagious and can spread from child to adult, adult to adult, child to child and adult to child. The most important thing is that if you are someone who’s carrying the virus that you are extremely careful with personal hygiene practices and clean anything that you’ve used around that area. Washing your hands regularly is really important and being wary of kissing people too. Obviously all this can be tough and even feel isolating so communicating how you feel about it is also really important too.
Some basic guidelines to follow include not ever sharing utensils, avoiding touching and kissing when an outbreak is happening and taking extra caution if you are living with someone with a weak immune system.