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Are cold sores always herpes related?

By Anonymous April 16, 2010 - 8:38am
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My 5 year old just woke up with a fever blister/cold sore this morning, neither his father or I have ever had a cold sore so I took him to see his pediatrician today. He looked and said that is was hsv1, he gave us a prescription and sent us off. He didn't seem to feel like this was a big deal, he said it's very common, he even said it was fine for him to go to school even though it is contagious but I can't help but be freaked out a bit! My baby has something now that he'll have to deal with the rest of his life, granted not life threatening but still this seems like a bigger deal than the Dr made it out to be.

Is it definitely hsv1 related? Is it just not considered to be a big deal anymore because so many people apparently have it? Please tell me why I'm supposed to be so nonchalant about it?

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Anonymous-

Thank you for your question and welcome! I'm sorry your child has cold sores, they are very painful sores that once pop up, have a tendency to pop over every now and again, for life. Sometimes it's many times times a year, other times it can be once in two or three years. Stress and a bad diet is a big trigger, once the virus is in the system.

I don't think anyone thinks you need to be nonchalant about anything. Just because your doctor wasn't worried, don't mean you don't have the right to be upset. Herpes of the mouth is painful and everyone who gets it dreads that tingly feeling that tells them they are going to spend the next week dealing with open sores that are not only painful, but rather unsightly. Nobody wants their child in pain.

Perhaps the reason for the doctor's rather casual demeanor is that he is correct, they are not harmful (in childhood, that may change in adulthood when he becomes sexually active. Herpes Simplex 1 can be transmitted to the genital area but as long as a person is careful, all should be well) and very common. 50% of people have Herpes Simplex 1 antibodies in their systems by the times they are teens and by the time they reach middle age, 9 out of every 10 people have it.

You and your husband also stand a good chance of having it. Just because you never had a cold sore, does not mean you don't have the anti-bodies in your system. Have either of you been tested? Statistics would indicate at least one of you have the antibodies. Little immune systems, such as that of your son, may show symptoms, whereas you may not.

Your son may have contracted Herpes Simplex 1 from you, his dad or any well meaning friend or relative who plops a kiss on his lips. Since most families can't resist kissing their kids, it's a risk we all take and most of us end up with the antibodies.

If he has another breakout, start his antiviral meds straight away to lessen the outbreak (and the pain) and a diet with lysine (an amino acid thought to help with herpes) and keep your sons face away from sunlight. A healthy diet also helps too.

Hopefully he will see as few outbreaks as possible. For now, there is no cure but keeping in mind the tips above, his outbreaks will be limited.

We wish your son the best!


April 16, 2010 - 1:48pm
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