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Baby and cold sore

Anyone can transfer the herpes simplex virus to a baby. It could be by a kiss, sharing a cup, utensil, or slobbery toy with someone who has the herpes simplex virus. A baby can also get the herpes virus during a vaginal birth if his mother has genital herpes.

Most people get the herpes simplex virus sometime during childhood. During the first outbreak, the following symptoms may occur for the baby:

  • Blisters on or around the mouth
  • Pain in the mouth
  • Fever
  • Poor drinking
  • Drowsiness
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Sore throat
  • Gum inflammation

A cold sore could be dangerous for a baby. If your baby is less than 3 months old and he gets any kind of mouth sore, call the doctor right away. Especially with newborn babies, the herpes virus can spread to other parts of the body, causing serious potentially permanent damage. In newborn babies cold sores can be life threatening, although this is rare.

Try to keep your baby away from touching the cold sore. In fact, to keep him from spreading the infection, wash his hands regularly and try to keep him from picking at the cold sore. You may want to put little mittens or socks on his hands while he sleeps.

If you have a cold sore, you should avoid kissing your baby (especially if he’s newborn) until the cold sore goes away. Remember, one peck with an infected lip is all it takes to pass on the herpes simplex virus. You’ll also want to avoid sharing cups and eating utensils while you have a cold sore.

If your child seems prone to cold sores as he gets older, you may want to protect him from the sun, since exposure to sunlight can trigger an outbreak once a child has the virus. Putting a brimmed hat and some lip balm on him for protection should help.

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