Herpes in children is a condition caused by the herpes virus . A couple of decades ago it was not frequent in infants; However, its contagion has gained ground in recent years. This may be due to the risk factors to which children are exposed at present.
For now, it has no cure, but its symptoms can be treated. On the other hand, it is important to emphasize that the virus remains latent throughout the life of the person who carries it , until some incident activates it.
What are the types of herpes virus?
There are different types of herpes viruses, depending on the impact they have on the person and which people they affect. The symptoms and the areas in which it is found may vary. Next, we show you what they are.
Herpes simplex virus type I (HSV-I)
This virus is usually the most common in affecting children. It is responsible for the sores in the mouth or on the face . It can cause cold sores or fever blisters. It is spread by direct contact and usually does not present symptoms at the beginning.
Herpes virus type II (HSV-II)
It is also known as genital herpes. It occurs in the genitals and is not common in children , however, cases have occurred. Commonly, it is transmitted through sexual contact. In the case of children, not necessarily the cause is a sexual violation.
Herpes zoster, like chickenpox, are induced by the varicella-zoster virus. Because of this, it is necessary to have had chickenpox before to suffer this type of herpes. This virus remains dormant for years and the individual becomes more vulnerable as he gets older .
Shingles is not common in children. However, in the cases of children who develop it, the symptoms are very mild and are cured soon. In the same way, precautions should be taken, since herpes zoster is very contagious. If your child has a weakened immune system , this virus can cause complications .
How to treat herpes in children?
The most common type of contagion (HSV-I) is through direct contact with infected skin , saliva or when handling an object previously touched by someone infected. Cold sores have blisters on the lips and gums. The child may have a fever, sore throat and swollen glands.
These lesions disappear in a couple of weeks, but they must be treated to relieve the annoying symptoms . Antiviral medicines for topical or oral use decrease the intensity and duration of the first stage. Acyclovir, valaciclovir and famciclovir are used with great success.
Applying ice packs or cold gel provides an analgesic effect and relieves itching caused by sores . On the other hand, the consumption of cold foods such as ice cream and some smoothies relieve lip pain and prevent dehydration. Also, you should avoid giving citrus or acidic foods, as they are irritating.
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Acetaminophen is an analgesic that your pediatrician could prescribe, in the case that the child presents acute pains or discomfort that prevent him from eating. Make sure that the child gets enough sleep , since resting and avoiding stressful situations will help him to improve promptly.
If your child has symptoms of herpes virus type II (HSV-II) or herpes zoster virus, it is recommended not to treat it at home , as it can have complications. In the same way, before treating the herpes simplex virus type I (HSV-I), consult your pediatrician to prescribe the right medication for your little one.
How to reduce the spread of herpes virus?
Although herpes in children usually lasts little, the impossible must be done to prevent its spread. Especially, it is prudent not to take it to daycare or school during that period . Likewise, it is important to prevent other people from sharing utensils such as glasses and utensils with the infected child.
On the other hand, you should prevent your child from scratching the affected area or removing the scabs, as it could spread the virus to other areas of the body. It is vitally important that the virus does not spread to the eyes , so washing the child’s hands is often the best prevention.
You should not kiss other people while the sores are active, or share toys that have been in your mouth.
Signs in children to take into account
When herpes develops in children, complications do not usually appear. However, you should go to the pediatrician if the child has any of the following signs :
- If a newborn develops rashes or blisters accompanied by fever, it could be a sign of a chronic herpes simplex infection.
- If the child has blisters near the eyes. This virus is usually one of the main causes of corneal infections.
- If the child complains of a headache and manifests convulsions , high fevers and confusion. The pediatrician should rule out some type of brain infection caused by HSV .
- If the area surrounding the herpes is red, it feels warm to the touch and the lesions remain more than 10 or 14 days. You should pay attention, as it could indicate a secondary infection by bacteria.
Finally, it is true that some treatments can be used to relieve the pain of herpes in children. However, we must emphasize that the most important thing is that you consult a doctor specialized in this type of virus . So you can have a correct diagnosis and the right medication to treat your little one.