This is a common and harmless virus that most people will experience at some time in their lives.
Signs that you’ve been infected:
- Tingling or soreness of the lips (occurs shortly before the breakout of sores)
- Appearance of blister-like sores that break and ooze for 7 to 10 days
- Sometimes accompanied by swollen neck glands, swollen lips, and a low-grade fever
How it’s transmitted:
- Physical contact with the sores
- Germs spread through sneezing and coughing
- Mouthing or sharing toys
- Sharing cups or eating utensils
- Antiviral medications either applied in ointment form or taken orally can shorten the length and severity of the breakout, especially if used in its early stages (when your lips start to tingle or feel sore).
- Topical anesthetics
- Sun-protective ointments and lip balms
- For soreness and itching, enjoy a well-placed popsicle on your lips.
Additional precautions to take:
- Cut your child’s fingernails as short as you can to discourage picking at the sores.
- Wash your child’s hands regularly so he doesn’t infect other parts of his body or share the germ with his friends.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Infectious Diseases does not recommend exclusion of children with cold sores from daycare or school, but advises covering the sores with clothing or a bandage.