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Cold Sores In Babies: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment And Prevention

4 min read

If you have a baby at home, you become very concerned about his health and wellbeing. Babies are susceptible to a lot of infections and one among them are cold sores. This is something that requires immediate attention. Read here to learn all about cold sores, causes, symptoms and how to cure them.
cold sores in babies

What Are Cold Sores?

They are tiny red blisters filled with fluid and normally appear on or around the lips . Also known as fever blisters, they make their appearance either in clusters or individually and can be quite painful and uncomfortable for your little darling.

What Causes Cold Sores In Babies?

Cold sores are normally triggered by Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and they are usually two types of HSV viruses. It is the HSV 1 virus that is the culprit behind cold sores while genital herpes is caused by HSV 2 virus.

Symptoms Of Cold Sores In Babies

It is always best to gather as much information as possible about an illness, so that you are well prepared to deal with it. The most common symptoms of cold sores in babies include:

  • Baby’s gums look swollen and even the mouth looks quite sore
  • Your baby may develop fever and the lymph glands on the neck get slightly swollen
  • You will notice tiny blisters appear around the lip area
  • The blisters become quite painful and shallow for the little baby
  • The baby becomes extremely irritable and even finds it difficult to eat food
  • The sore begins crushing after some days and just disappear finally

These symptoms normally last for around two weeks and it is important that you treat the sores as soon as possible as they can reappear if they are not treated properly.

What Are The Risks If My Baby Develops Cold Sores?

Babies in the first three to four weeks of life are at the highest risk for having severe symptoms from catching the herpes simplex virus responsible for cold sores. The symptoms show up during the first month after birth. Since the immune system of your baby is still developing and this virus can cause infection in the brain, liver, lung and kidneys of the baby which can be life threatening. Apart from cold sores around the mouth, babies can develop these blisters on their tongue, inside of their cheeks and behind the throat. These cold sores can be very painful and make your baby very irritable. But the good news is they will eventually go away. This virus can also spread to your baby’s eyes if he touches a cold sore and then rubs his eyes. If you notice any blister near your baby’s eyes, speak to your doctor immediately.

How Can I Protect My Baby?

The cold sore virus is quite contagious and it becomes imperative that proper steps are taken in order to ensure that the infection does not spread. Given below are some precautions that must be taken to ensure the same.

    • The most important measure to avert cold sores in babies is keeping the baby away from family members or friends who are already suffering from cold sores
    • It has been found that extreme exposure to sunlight can also trigger cold sores. So ensure the little one is not exposed to a lot of sunlight
    • Make sure that all the baby bottles and other vessels that are used for feeding your baby are sterilized before and after each use
    • Breast feeding your baby is ideal when he is having cold sores, as the baby might refuse normal food during this difficult period
    • Ensure that you use separate towels for the little one and wash the little one’s hands each time he tries touching the sores
    • Take care to see that you keep your baby well hydrated
    • Try to prevent the little one from touching his or her eyes during this period as HSV infection in the baby’s eyes can be extremely dangerous
    • Even the mother or whoever looks after the baby requires washing their hands frequently as this virus is highly contagious
    • If taking your baby out in the sun, adorn a brimmed hat and apply some lip balm on the little one’s lips before stepping out

cold sores

Ways To Treat Cold Sores In Babies

Cold sores normally take around one week to ten days to subside. Although OTC medications are available to treat cold sores, it is always advisable to consult the little one’s doctor before buying the same. Some of the treatment options for treating cold sores are mentioned below:

  • The main treatment for cold sores is usually antiviral creams that your doctor will prescribe
  • If the little one seems to be in pain, ibuprofen or paracetamol can be given to ease the pain and discomfort
  • Applying ice or even a cool cloth on the affected area is found to be quite effective to reduce the swelling and redness
  • Do not give citrus fruits and tomatoes to the little one during this period as it can aggravate the sores and even hurt the little one
  • Apply the cream regularly as soon as you discover the symptoms of a cold sore so that healing becomes faster
  • Make sure your hands are washed thoroughly after the cream is applied and ensure that the cream is used exclusively for your baby

Cold sores are not actually dangerous but care should be taken to ensure that they do not spread to the other parts of your baby’s body. With proper treatment and care, these cold sores disappear within a couple of weeks. So do not panic if you happen to find that your little one has developed cold sores. Do consult your doctor and also keep in mind the above precautionary measures.
Did any of you face the problem of cold sores in your babies? What did you do to treat them? Do share you experiences in the comments section below.

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