Herpes/Cold Sores in Toddler!

Updated on December 15, 2010
T.R. asks from Danbury, CT
6 answers

Has anyone else ever had their child get cold sores/herpes (obviously I'm talking about a first time/primary break out)? I had a cold sore and then about 5 days later my son -20 months - came down with a fever and was very cranky, lethargic and not eating much. I took him to the dr. and he said he had an ear infection, a sore throat and some canker sores on his tongue, which was normal for this time of year. Later that day (Friday), I noticed that he had two cold sores, one on the inner upper lip and one on the outside lower lip. I gave him the antibiotics and the fever went away, but by Sunday night he didn't sleep the entire night, just screamed his head off. I took him back to the dr and he said the ears were fine, but that his gums were red and swollen and he had other sores inside his mouth, which I could sort of see when my son cooperated. We just have to ride this out and he's been so miserable because it hurts to eat and he's not sleeping all that well. He's been very frustrated and acting HORRIBLE!! I have read that the primary infection can cause all this - fever, sore throat, restlessness, sores, etc. - which I didn't know.

Needless to say, I feel terribly guilty. I tried to be careful, but I guess he must have picked it up somehow. Predisposition to cold sores also runs in the family, so he was one down anyway. Luckily my daughter hasn't caught anything - except a upper respiratory cold and pink eye, which fortunately he hasn't caught, that would just be the icing on the cake!

Has anyone else experienced this? What can I expect? It will be a week tomorrow - how long will this last!! Poor thing!

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So What Happened?

My son is feeling better after a week of this torture and it's SO good to see him back to his normal self. Now we only have an upper respiratory infection, but we can handle those! Thank you for all your input and hopefully I won't have to deal with this again and perhaps your advice helped someone else also.

More Answers



answers from New York on

Hi there I am so sorry for your baby having to go through this but I have a suggestion that may alleviate some of the pain. Has your doctor recommended using like baby anbesol? that numbing teething cream? My daughters occasionally get a cold sore here and there between their gums and cheeks near their teeth and I keep a tube of baby anbesol in my medicine container for just that reason. Its numbs the area enough for them to be able to chew, drink, talk. I always use a cotton swab to apply it. My children never had an outbreak but if one sore alone can make my children cry I can not imagine the pain your baby is going through.
I really hope this helps.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

It's always so hard to watch our babies go through any suffering, unfortunately there are those times where you just have to be patient and see it through. Give him Motrin or Tylenol to ease the pain as well as ice or popsicles to soothe the sores in his mouth. Cold sores are considered to be herpes simplex, it is rare for babies to get it but not impossible, especially if they run in the family and you had one.Don't feel guilty, you didn't necessarily have to come in contact with him directly, it could have been from a shared utensil or something like that. In babies, they won't necessarily get a sore on the lip as adults do, they develop it as mouth soreness. Try to wash your son's hands often because cold sores are very contagious. Put hand mitts or sox on his hands while he sleeps. Do all this to avoid him touching his mouth and then his eyes because he can develop it on his eyes. Sores can last up to 14 days. Good luck and definitely give the ice a try. Good Luck T.!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My son had this its called herpes labialis,
it was terrible and lasted 10 days for me,

My oldest son never had them, he did however get herpes on his cheek, I thought that to be a reaction from the Chicken pox shot, I put valtrex on it,it worked really well
The rash was nearly gone in one day.

As for the oral herpes, its a virus and just has to run its course, HORRIBLE I know,My other 2 never got this, and i rarely get cold sores, but my husband is ALWAYS getting them,
Good thing is next time will not be this bad.

Its not your fault, MOST people get this virus as a child,
but the reaction is not always the same,

trust me in 10 days he will be better and in 2 weeks back to normal.

Good luck

Cheer up



Herpes labialis is an extremely common disease caused by infection of the mouth area with herpes simplex virus, most often type 1. Most Americans are infected with the type 1 virus by the age of 20.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

T., i am so sorry to hear. i have not yet experienced this as a mom, but my mother still tells me how horrible it was when i had it. i think she said i was about 5 or 6. she said she wasn't allowed to send me back to school until every last crusted blister was gone!! i think she said it was a couple of weeks. good luck. every time lia gets one of these childhood things, i try to ride it out and mentally check it off the list. so far we've had rotavirus, roseola, and multiple ear infections. we've had 2 trips to the er-once for the first two, and 4 nights in the hospital-2 for the rotavirus and 2 for the ear infection(iv abx and tubes).

count to 10, breathe, and sleep when you can.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

hi T.,

my daughter has a recurring herpes infection on her right eyelid. luckily it hasn't spread to her hands or mouth. but I've done SO much research about it so I hope you'll find some of what I have to say helpful. when the infection looks like it could develop into sores, because it's so close to her eye and can't be treated topically, she takes acyclovir. It's an anti-viral medication that we try to avoid, like you would try to avoid using antibiotics too frequently. Her body won't build up an immunity to it like antibiotics but it is toxic to her little body. My ped told us that some children even take it in very low doses to prevent chronic outbreaks now but I still hate it when we have to put her on it. Unforunately it's the only thing that helps when an outbreak occurs.

the main thing I've learned is that you can help control the outbreaks with diet. foods high in arginine should be avoided (common ones my daughter likes are peas, grapes, orange juice, peanut butter and chocolate). look online for a full list of foods with their lysine to arginine ratio. If she eats something high in arginine it can be counteracted by adding some lysine to her juice or sprinkled on the food itself.

Also, this is important for all kids but especially those with viral infections, remember to protect him from the sun - especially the areas that break out. A hat or visor to cover the face, sunglasses and, of course, sunscreen. Sun exposure can cause outbreaks.

If you haven't already, do your own research online. it's interesting how lysine and arginine work together. The body naturally makes arginine, so it can't be avoided, but it doesn't make lysine to counteract high levels of arginine so we have to edcate ourselves on how we can do it. Arginine itself doesn't actually cause an outbreak. It just inhibits the body's ability to fight the herpes virus. Lysine comes in power filled capsules that can be opened and sprinkled in juice or on foods (it comes in other forsm too so make sure you get the capsules or your'll have to crush the tabels yourself). Your son shouldn't take more than a 1/4 to 1/2 (during an outbreak) of a capsule at a time/per day (but ask your ped or a nurtitionist before staring him on a lysine regimine).

I hope this helps!

One more thought...put away all your hand towels and use only disposable paper towels and antibiotic soaps until everyone's symptoms clear up. Take the trash out of the bathrooms daily. Also, if you don't already have someone and can afford it, get someone to clean the house top to bottom. Good luck!



answers from Atlanta on

Yes. Lysine will take the pain away and heal the sores quickly.
For a toddler, only 250 mg, twice a day for only 3 days.
You can find the capsule and spinkle it in jucie, etc.
Talk with someone at and Herb Shop. They can help with other immune builders.