Cold sores are pretty common in adults and kids. They are typically harmless but can cause serious health complications in babies.
An Aussie mom recently shared photos of her toddler covered in painful blisters as a warning to avoid kissing young children on the lips.
The herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores spreads easily through saliva or skin-to-skin contact. It’s also contagious until the sore is gone.
Get Them to a Doctor
While cold sores are common in adults and children, they can be dangerous to infants. Newborns and babies under the age of 6 months have immature immune systems, so they’re especially prone to complications from herpes virus outbreaks.
Herpes (HSV-1 and HSV-2) spreads through kissing and other close contact, especially when the sore is weeping or crusted over. It’s always a good idea to ask friends and family not to kiss or nuzzle your baby until their cold sore is gone.
Babies who develop herpes may have a rash around the mouth and lips, similar to baby eczema or baby acne. It can also be accompanied by blisters or even a fever.
Herpes can also be transmitted to a newborn’s eyes, which causes an eye infection called herpes simplex keratitis. This can lead to blindness or corneal scarring if untreated. You should take your baby to the doctor immediately if they have symptoms like these.
Give Them a Bath
Cold sores are typically harmless in adults and children, but they pose a bigger risk to babies. This is because babies’ immune systems are immature. They don’t have the antibodies to fight off herpes. If a baby gets a cold sore on or around their mouth, call their pediatrician immediately.
The HSV-1 virus that causes cold sores can infect any broken skin, including lips. It can also be spread through saliva. Kissing is a common way that herpes is transmitted, and it’s dangerous for babies.
Make sure everyone in the house knows not to kiss your baby if they have a cold sore. This includes family, friends, and daycare workers. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy, and ask people to use it before touching your baby. You can also put up signs or cards to remind people not to touch the baby if they have a cold sore. It’s important to set this rule as soon as possible.
Keep Them Away from Other People
We’ve all heard of the “don’t kiss babies” warning because herpes and cold sores can be spread via saliva. This is especially dangerous for young children, like newborns and babies under the age of 12. Their immature immune systems mean they are more likely to get HSV-1 from skin-to-skin contact than adults are.
It’s also important to keep your baby away from people who have active cold sores or herpes. They can spread the virus through kissing, skin-to-skin touching and even touching an object that someone infected with herpes has touched. This includes things like cutlery, towels and washcloths.
If your baby has a cold sore around their mouth, try to keep them hydrated with smoothies or other cool treats that will help ease the pain. Try to avoid acidic foods and give them ice to chew on as well, as this can help prevent the sore from cracking or bleeding. You can use an over-the-counter antiviral cream to speed up healing if needed.
Call Your Pediatrician
Cold sores are pretty common in adults and children. They often go away on their own and cause no complications. They spread through saliva and skin-to-skin contact and can also be caught by touching objects that were handled by someone who has a cold sore. It’s very important to teach your child to wash their hands frequently, especially before and after eating and using the bathroom. It’s also good to teach them to avoid kissing, sharing cups or utensils, or personal items like towels and washcloths if they have a cold sore.
Newborn babies and infants are particularly susceptible to herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection. Having herpes in the mouth or throat can be very dangerous for them, causing high fevers, severe sores, brain infections and even death. The viral infection can also result in other symptoms, such as a sore throat, drooling, irritability and a rash on their skin. If your baby is showing any of these signs, it’s time to call your pediatrician for advice.