Are Herpes Outbreaks Common for Children?

When Consuela's 1-year-old daughter, Uriyah, came down with a fever, she took her to urgent care, where she noticed blisters that began to bleed around the little girl's mouth. The doctors said her daughter had the herpes simplex 1 virus.

Consuela was shocked. She says she's never had a cold sore and claims her daughter contracted the virus from a day care worker, because she remembered the worker had an outbreak on her lips previously.

Consuela says the blisters were so painful that her daughter could not eat and lost more than seven pounds.

The Doctors explain that the herpes simplex 1 virus is not the same as the virus that causes genital sores.

"I want to reassure you and all parents out there, this is actually really, really common to have happen, and actually most common in day cares," pediatrician James Sears says. 

About 75 percent of children have been exposed to the herpes simplex 1 virus by the time they are 12 years old, and 90 percent of adults carry the virus.

Still, The Doctors say, the first outbreak can be alarming for children and their parents.

"It can land children in the hospital because it's so painful in the mouth. They won't eat or drink so they get dehydrated and have to be in the hospital to get IV hydration," Dr. Sears says.

The Doctors say it usually is difficult to determine where the child contracted the virus because it is so common and is so easily spread, through oral secretions, skin-to-skin contact and sharing objects, such as cups. It even can be spread by those who don't have an obvious cold sore.

Dr. Sears explains that once you contract the virus, it remains in your system forever, but it is unusual for children to have reoccurring herpes outbreaks.

Herpes outbreaks can be triggered by factors such as stress, illness and sun exposure.

You can reduce the severity of outbreaks by using prescription medications and creams, and soothe sores with aloe or popsicles.

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