Cold sores are small blisters around the mouth, caused by the herpes simplex virus. The most common strain of the virus that causes cold sores is herpes simplex virus 1.
Once infected, the herpes simplex virus becomes dormant for long periods of time and may reactivate. Episodes of the cold sores usually do not last longer than two weeks. Hot sun, cold wind, a cold, or a depressed immune system can cause a reactivation of herpes simplex virus symptoms.
Some children and adults never experience any symptoms with the first attack; others have severe flu-like symptoms and ulcers in and around the mouth. The following are the most common symptoms of cold sores. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of cold sores may resemble other dermatologic conditions or medical problems. Always consult your children's physician for a diagnosis.
Specific treatment for cold sores will be determined by your child's physician based on:
Although cold sores cannot be cured, treatment may help alleviate some symptoms, if severe. Treatment may include antiviral medication and other types of prescription medications. Always consult your child's physician.