By the age of five, around a third of all children have been exposed to the virus causing cold sores called herpes simplex. This is not related to the sexually transmitted form of herpes which is a completely different virus. As a preventive measure, you can ask anyone who has a cold sore not to kiss your child.
Once infected, the herpes simplex virus will stay dormant in your child’s body forever and in most cases doesn’t cause any further problems. However, a few children do go on to become prone to cold sores, getting them two or three times a year.
Cold sores usually start with a tingling, itching sensation on the lip, followed by blisters which weep, forming a scab.
What to do
- Ask your GP for antiviral cream on prescription
- Use infant paracetamol to relieve any pain or discomfort
- Smear Vaseline on the scab to stop it cracking and bleeding and prevent further infection
- Give your child her own towel and flannel to use and wash your hands before and after treating cold sores as they are contagious