A cold sore is a very contagious infection caused due to herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1).
They are also called fever blisters or oral herpes. It usually occurs around the mouth and sometimes spreads in the gums too.
They appear as small blisters which are filled with fluid. Fluid starts oozing out and then the crust is formed and eventually, it heals without leaving any scar.
The virus spreads from saliva, skin contact with someone who has cold sores, and touching anything that has a virus on it.
Cold sores can happen as late as 20 days after catching the virus.
The blisters usually appear near where the virus has entered inside the body.
The area around the sores appear red, swollen and they are extremely painful.
They are a minor inconvenience to adults but to babies, they can be a lot more serious.
If you’ve kissed your baby with a cold sore and are worried about what to do, you’ve come to the right place.
Here is the answer to what to do if I kissed my baby with a cold sore.
What To Do If I Kissed My Baby with a Cold Sore?
If accidentally you kissed the baby with a cold sore, the first thing you need to do is, clean that area with soapy water.
Make sure to remove the things which could be having viruses on them.
Keep an eye on your baby closely for any kind of soreness, loss of appetite, blisters, or fever.
Contact your pediatrician if you notice any kind of changes in the health of your baby.
Newborns are more vulnerable to the infection and any kind of contact with the virus can increase their risk of getting sick.
The immunity of babies is under the developing stage and hence they cannot fight the virus as easily as older kids.
Signs Your Baby Has Got a Cold Sore
Newborns in the first week have the highest risk of getting an infection as their immune system is not fully developed.
This virus can be life-threatening if it spreads to the vital organs of the baby.
You can easily notice if your baby has a cold sore as there will be redness, blisters around their mouth, and even sometimes around their chin and cheek.
Children mostly get cold sores from HSV-1 however, adults can have it from HSV-2 as well.
Apart from blisters, the following are some symptoms of cold sores in baby:
1. Irritability – Fussiness in a baby can be a sign of multiple problems including abdominal pain, fever, gastric issue, earache, a viral or bacterial infection. Discomfort can also be a sign of irritation.
If your baby is agitated, then this alone doesn’t necessarily indicate cold sore however it could be one of the symptoms of it. It is better to consult a pediatrician for a safer side.
2. Sore Throat – When babies have a sore throat they usually find difficulty in swallowing food and their voice seems scratchy while crying. There might be many reasons for the sore throat like tonsillitis, common cold, or cold sores.
A humidifier can help to ease a sore throat. However, if the problem persists then contact your pediatrician for an examination.
3. High fever – The normal body temperature ranges from 95.8 to 99.3°F (36.7 – 37.3°C) but it fluctuates slightly higher or lower due to various factors and activity. Temperatures of 100.9° F (38.3°C) or above are considered as fever.
In general, if the temperature is higher by 2°F (1.1°C) from your normal temperature, it is mostly a sign of fever. Consult the Pediatrician if the baby shows signs of fever.
4. Lethargy – A lethargic baby usually shows signs of low energy and is not as active as they normally are. Lethargy or listlessness in a baby can be a sign of viral infection or even high blood pressure.
Try tickling your baby, unwrap them or try talking to them to stimulate. If your baby is having low energy continuously even after your efforts, then consult your doctor.
5. Loss of appetite: It is normal for a baby of age between 0 to 12 months to have a loss of appetite but sometimes babies refuse to eat even after staying hungry for more than usual.
Younger kids are more prone to becoming dehydrated easily hence more attention is needed to them.
The baby can be refusing food due to various reasons such as teething, growth, irritability, overheating, or cold sore.
Not necessarily loss of appetite indicates cold sore.
However, extreme mouth pain and discomfort due to cold sores might be the reason why your child is having a poor appetite.
How to Prevent the Baby from Getting a Cold Sore?
Normally, an adult gets a cold sore once in a year but sometimes even babies as young as 6 months old can have them.
Being a parent, your child’s health is obviously your top priority.
As already mentioned above cold sores are spread through saliva, skin-to-skin contact, or touching something that has the virus.
If you or any of the family members are having cold sores then allow minimal or no contact with your baby, especially during an out
Take the following measures to prevent cold sores.
- Keep the toys of your baby clean
- Avoid touching baby anywhere near the mouth
- Don’t hug or peck the baby
- Tell loved ones not to kiss the baby
- Keep the belongings away from baby
- Wash your hands before touching the baby
- Do not share utensils like spoons with baby
- If there’s a sore outbreak make sure to cover it well so that it doesn’t spread
- Avoid touching the sore frequently as it increases the chances of infection
- If you breastfeed your baby then avoid touching your breast or nipples
What to Do If My Baby Gets a Cold Sore?
If you’re wondering what to do if I kissed my baby with a cold sore, don’t panic.
As parents, we always do our best to keep our children safe and healthy, however, sometimes we just can’t stop things from happening.
Once your child is infected by the herpes virus, a cold sore will show up whenever the immunity is low.
We can help our baby by taking some precautions so that the virus doesn’t spread to any other area of his body.
1. Stop the Spread – Once your baby has a cold sore, blisters filled with fluid will appear. During an outbreak, it is very contagious, and hence keep it covered so that it does not spread to other areas of the face.
When it is healing, the crust will form on the sores. Prevent your baby from scratching and put petroleum jelly on it so that it is protected while it is healing.
2. Start isolating – If you are having more than one child then isolate your baby from them. Don’t allow other kids to play with your baby as there are chances of spreading the virus.
It is best to isolate your baby from other people so that he can be completely healed and regain his strength.
3. Stop sharing – If anybody is suffering from a viral infection, it is always advisable to separate their belongings and utensils from other people in the house. Sharing things can put other members at the risk of getting sick.
Wash the clothes and towels of the baby separately with hot water.
4. Keep your baby hydrated – If a baby age 1 year or above is having a cold sore around his mouth then try giving him something cool to drink like smoothies and fruit juice. This will keep your baby’s lips moist and hydrated.
If your baby’s age is under 0 to 12 months then try to breastfeed him frequently in order to keep him hydrated. Hydration is important in cold sores as it prevents the infected area from getting dry.
5. Ease the discomfort – Apply ice wrapped in a cloth on the infected area of a cold sore. This will reduce the pain of the sores to some extent.
Avoid giving any acidic food like tomato sauce, citrus fruits, etc. as this can irritate the cold sores and make the journey of infection more painful.
If the pain persists then ask your pediatrician to recommend some pain reliever, or cream so that your child can eat and drink without the pain.
6. Keep your baby stress free – According to a study, babies can sense their caregiver’s emotions. So as a parent, if you are stressed about your baby’s health, this will stress out your baby too.
If you manage your stress well, then your baby will remain calm to a certain extent. Managing stress can help in reducing the chances of sore outbreaks.
7. Lessen skin irritation – It is essential to hydrate your skin too, it means the body should be well moisturized so that skin does not get irritated and dry easily. Exposure to direct sun can also irritate the infected area.
For older babies, apply a lip balm containing SPF before going outdoors, and for younger babies put a hat on them to shade their face from harsh sun rays. Skin irritation can result in an outbreak of cold sores.
Important points to remember:
- Make sure to keep the baby’s hands away from their eyes
- Don’t let them scratch the sores by keeping the hands covered
- Sterilize their utensils and clothes
- Put petroleum jelly on the infected area so that it is protected during the healing period
- If it’s oozing out then clean the area with sterile water and a cotton swab
- Reduce the discomfort of your baby
- Keep your baby hydrated
What Is The Treatment For A Cold Sore?
There is no such cure for cold sores however once the cold sore is developed, treatment can be done to lessen the discomfort and pain of cold sores.
Ointments and creams – There are many antiviral ointments available that your pediatrician will suggest.
Use ointments as soon as the first sign of a cold sore appears on the skin. Over-the-counter cream like Docosanol (Abreva) can be applied on sores and it will reduce the outbreak.
Home Treatments – Symptoms of cold sores can be reduced by applying ice covered with cloth or washcloths soaked in cold water on the sores.
Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline) can be applied on lips to ease the discomfort however, it will not necessarily heal the cold sore.
When to see a pediatrician:
- If your newborn is having difficulty fighting infection and he’s any kind of skin issue
- If your child develops a fever or has problems in breathing
- If your child is constantly in low energy and refusing to eat or drink for more than usual time
- If cold sores are taking more time to heal and it is becoming extremely painful for baby
- If your child gets cold sores repeatedly
Hopefully now you know the answer to what to do if I kissed my baby with a cold sore.
Prevention is better than cure and if you or any of your family members are having any viral infection, it is better to keep them away from the baby.
Always sanitize your hands before interacting with a newborn as they are new to this outer world.
For Newborns, cold sores can be serious, and immediate medical care is necessary.
For older kids, cold sores can be painful but they are not serious and usually get healed within a week.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I accidentally kissed my baby with a cold sore?
If you have accidentally kissed your baby with a cold sore. First of all, do not panic.
Wash the area with soapy water and give a warm bath to the baby. Check them for a few days for any kind of above-mentioned symptoms of a cold sore.
If there is anything unusual in your baby’s health, then consult a pediatrician.
How long do cold sores be dangerous to babies?
Cold sores are most dangerous for babies between 0 to 6 months of age.
During an outbreak, it is very contagious and special care is required so that the virus does not spread.
Cold sores usually heal within a week or 10 days. However, for younger babies, it is best to talk to the doctor as it sometimes results in complications.
Can a baby get a cold sore from a kiss on the head?
Yes, as cold sores can also happen by skin-to-skin contact. Hence, one must avoid hugging or kissing a child if someone is having cold sores.
It is very contagious to kiss the baby during a cold sore outbreak as there are more chances of spreading.
For babies under 6 months of age, this could be very dangerous.
After washing the infected area with soap and water, contact the pediatrician.
Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She’s an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.
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