How To Ease The Symptoms Of Cold Sores in Children
As much as kids and parents dislike them, cold sores have become all too common today. They are usually mild but the first outbreak can be accompanied by serious symptoms and cause complications in rare cases. Furthermore, a cold sore infection can lead to many complications if the child has a weak immune system caused by illness or other treatments such as chemotherapy.
But, what are cold sores in children?
Cold sores, or fever blisters, are small blisters on the mouth and lips caused by the herpes simplex virus. The particular strain of virus that causes the infection is herpes simplex virus 1, which is very contagious – according to the WHO around two thirds of people under 50 being affected. It can spread from one person to another through kissing, sharing utensils, such as cups and spoons, using the same washcloths and towels with an infected person, and touching the sores before they are healed.
It can take between 1 to 2 days after infection before cold sores appear. However, once the virus becomes active, it can cause cold sores, which do not last longer than two weeks. Any child can get cold sores; however, kids who live with someone infected with the herpes simplex virus are more at risk.
Symptoms of Cold Sores in Children
The symptoms of cold sores appear differently in each child. Sometimes, other kids may not show any signs and symptoms with the first infection. In severe cases, your kid may develop flu-like symptoms and ulcers in the mouth region. However, here are the most common symptoms of cold sores in children.
- Itching, tingling, and irritation in and around the mouth.
- Blistering in the mouth and around the lips. The blisters can get bigger, leak fluid, and crust over.
- Soreness on the mouth and lips that can last between 3 days to a week
The symptoms of cold sores are a health concern for many children. That is why it may be advisable to ensure your kid sees a pediatrician for cold sore treatment. A pediatrician would determine how severe the infection is and the kid’s age and general health to administer the most effective treatment.
Typically, a cold sore heals on its own after a week or two. Unfortunately, there is no specific cure that can get rid of the sore effectively. However, you can apply some home remedies to ease the symptoms and minimize discomfort in your child.
How to Ease the Symptoms of Cold Sores in Children
Most remedies are designed to help speed up the healing process while easing pain.
- Over-the-Counter Oils and Ointments – These over-the-counter oils and ointments contain docosanol or benzyl alcohol that helps ease the pain while also shortening the healing process. You can apply these anesthetic creams directly to the infected area. When applying the medicine, ensure you use a cotton swab and avoid touching other parts with it, to prevent the sore from spreading.
- Apply Warm Washcloth or Ice – Cold sores can be painful, especially when it’s hot. To ease your child’s pain, you can warm some water, put a washcloth in and wring it before placing it on the affected area. Alternatively, you can apply ice to numb the area a reduce pain.
- Purchase Antiviral Prescription Medications – Another effective way to ease cold sore symptoms is taking prescription medication. These types of drugs can help reduce pain and ensure the cold sores heal faster. A pediatrician would prescribe these antiviral medications if your child has frequent outbreaks or is experiencing serious side effects of cold sores.
- Pain Relievers and Rest – Pain relievers for kids can help relieve mild to moderate pain in children. These pain relievers include paracetamol and ibuprofen for kids. Using these painkillers can help reduce pain and ease discomfort.
Cold sores do not have a cure – according to pediatricians, the best way to deal with cold sores is to treat the symptoms as soon as possible. The remedies mentioned above can help ease the symptoms and pain.