Cold sores (also known as fever blisters) are those small sores which usually appear on and above the upper lip. They are very common, easily spread and caused by the herpes simplex 1 virus (HSV1). The virus tends to remain dormant in the nerve cells until the immune system is weakened and then flares up. Young children have a less developed immune system, so they can be more susceptible to the cold sore virus.
Everyone, whatever their age, finds it difficult, embarrassing and painful to put up with a cold sore. The whole cycle takes about 10 days. Most contract the cold sore virus when they are young and it is spread in saliva or mucus that comes from the nose and mouth.
You should try and protect your small children from picking up the cold sore virus in the first place. But as anyone with young children knows, this can be very difficult. It is just as easy for the virus to spread within the family unit itself. If you fear that skin contact has been made with another child or adult with a cold sore, then make sure to wash areas touched by the infected skin immediately. Lather up with plenty of mild soap and water.
There is more that you can do.
Keep your child`s lips moisturized with a protective organic and natural lip balm. The herpes virus can only infect the body if there is an opening in the skin such as a cut, scratch or crack. The lip balm keeps the lips moisturized while preventing it from cracking or splitting. You can even make your own lip balm with 2 parts Sweet Almond oil, 1 part Beeswax Pearls and some drops of Wheat Germ Oil. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add Beeswax Pearls. For thicker consistency, add more Beeswax Pearls. Allow to cool, add a few drops of essentials oils and carefully pour into jars or tubes.
If your child is attending a child care facility, all children and adults should use good hand washing or sanitizing practices with no sharing of towels. A child suffering from cold sores should stay at home until these are healed and any toys that are put into the mouth should be disinfected. If you are borrowing or hiring toys, then take care to disinfect all the items immediately after your reach home.
A toothbrush can harbor the herpes virus for days. During an outbreak, a toothbrush should be replaced at the beginning, again after the blister develops and then once again after the sore has completely healed.
The herpes virus needs arginine as an essential amino acid for its metabolism. Those foods that are rich in arginine include chocolate, cola, peas, grain cereals, peanuts and cashews so avoid them if your child is prone to cold sores.
Natural cold sore products are sometimes best to use for the treatment of cold sores and the herpes virus. They are available to:
- act as a preventative
- use when that tingle is first felt
- treat and heal a cold sore once it has started its cycle
There is no need to use harsh over-the-counter medications.
Encourage your child to resist the temptation to lick or touch a cold sore, while keeping it as dry and clean as possible. Apply an ice pack to the area or try a moistened tea bag pressed on the cold sore frequently – the tannic acid in the tea has antiviral properties. Make sure to protect your child`s cold sore from the sun and wind until completely healed.
Article by Todd Mumford, citizen journalist