How Do You Know if Your Child Has Herpes?

How Do You Know if Your Child Has Herpes?

Herpes is very common and most people may have it at some point in their lives. This condition affects everyone, but usually, it goes away without treatment. Some antiviral medications, like ProsurX can help stop herpes more quickly. But, when herpes infects a child, it can be harder to treat. Here are a few things about herpes in children that all parents need to know. 

How does your child have herpes?

Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus or HSV. There are two main types of HSV: HSV-1 (oral herpes) and HSV-2 (genital herpes). HSV-1 is particularly more common in children. But, there are cases where a child can get HSV-2 from their parents. 

Once your child has contracted HSV, this virus can stay in his/her body forever. As a result, it causes outbreaks to occur up to several times a year.

Usually, the virus that causes herpes stays hidden in the nerves of your child’s skin. It can flare up when your child is stressed, tired or has another disease. It can also flare up when your older girl experiences her periods.

Stress causes herpes to break out on your child

Stress causes herpes to break out on your child

Direct contact from an infected person to your child’s body can make them infected with herpes. Here are some common ways in which your child might get herpes.

  • Someone with herpes kisses your child.
  • Someone touches herpes and then touches your child.
  • You have herpes and transfer the virus to your newborn during delivery.

Some factors can cause your child’s herpes to break out numerous times a year. These include:

  • Stress and fatigue.
  • Fluctuating hormones.
  • Dehydration and poor diet.
  • Illnesses (cold or flu).
  • Injuries in the skin.
  • Exposure to heat, cold, and sunlight.

Related: 7 Things about Herpes That You Probably Didn’t Know

How do you know if your child becomes infected with herpes?

When your child develops herpes, he/she may experience the following symptoms.

For oral herpes, your child may develop sores in the mouth and on the skin. For genital herpes, sores on the genitals will be noticed. The sores can resemble pimples that are fluid-filled, red and painful to the touch. Associated symptoms are itching, tingling and burning in or around the affected area. After 1 or 2 weeks, the sores can burst open, leak fluid, then dry up, form scabs and heal.

A child with herpes

A child with herpes

Your child may also have some other symptoms, such as:

  • Fever and pain.
  • Irritability and drooling.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Sore throat.
  • Swollen and tender lymph glands.

During delivery, herpes can infect a newborn, causing signs and symptoms, like:

  • Seizures.
  • Deafness.
  • Blindness.
  • Recurrent sores on the skin, eyes, mouth and genitals.
  • Serious viral infections.
  • Fatal damage in the lungs, liver and heart.

If your child has some of these above symptoms, you should take them to the doctor immediately. Herpes is highly contagious. If not treated promptly, it can spread to other areas of your child’s body.

Related: Can Herpes Affect the Eyes?

What can you do to protect your child from herpes?

If you develop herpes sores during pregnancy, ask for immediate treatment. Only by this, you can protect your baby from herpes during pregnancy and delivery. If your child does develop sores, you can take the few tips below to stop the infection.

Ease pain and discomfort

  • Apply ice cubes to your child’s sores.
  • Ask your doctor for a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Apply an over-the-counter cream or a prescription anti-viral cream. Note that it’s safe for your child.
  • Do not give acidic foods to your child. These foods can worsen the symptoms and trigger future outbreaks. For example, sugar, sweet candies, soda and processed foods.
  • Give your child foods that help avoid dehydration. For example, colored fruits and vegetables.
Treat your child's herpes

Treat herpes in a child

Stop the spread

  • Keep your child’s skin dry, clean and healthy.
  • Prevent your child from touching or scratching the sores.
  • Do not let your child share toothpaste, towels, drinks or utensils with others.
  • Wash their personal items regularly.

Minimize your child’s risks for future outbreaks

  • Help your child reduce stress and maintain healthy immune system.
  • Make sure your child eats a healthy diet, exercises regularly and gets enough sleep.
  • Be sure your child uses a lip balm and lotion to avoid sunlight and other environmental factors.

Related: 7 Tips to Treat Herpes and Prevent Future Outbreaks

Although herpes is incurable, the good news is that it can go away by itself. The healing time can also vary, depending on individual’s situation. To help your child get rid of symptoms faster, you can ask a doctor for appropriate medications. Also, try to avoid things that trigger herpes outbreaks in your child. For example, do not let people with sores or blisters kiss your child.


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