The article contains information about the causes of fever blisters in children, and explains on how to treat them. It also describes whether there are any such cases observed in toddlers.
Fever blisters are caused when a person or child is infected by the herpes simplex virus. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus-1, (HSV-1). They are also known as cold sores or oral herpes. In medical terminology, it is known as “recurrent herpes simplex labialis.” It is different from type 2 genital herpes or genital herpes, which is caused by the HSV-2 virus. They first appear as a red bump, which then ruptures to leave behind a gray blister. These usually occur only on the mouth or inside the mouth. They can even appear on the face or nose. It is known as “recurrent”, because once you are infected, the symptoms usually reappear over different intervals of time. They spread by touching the infected area or coming in contact with an infected person or his belongings. Physical contact with the victim like kissing, can pass on the virus.
It is caused by HSV-1, as mentioned above, and is most often a result of physical contact with an infected person. Children could get it from an infected parent, sibling, relative, or friend.
An infected child could spread the virus by rubbing his sore and then touching other children. Most people are infected by the virus in their childhood.
- The development of red blisters all over the face and mouth region, and the severity varies from person to person.
- The patient might also get fever, and the neck glands could become swollen.
- The patient might also experience body ache.
- The first time, the signs or symptoms of the virus might not be too severe, and can sometimes go unnoticed, but the first recurrence is usually the most severe.
How does the Infection Progress
- As mentioned above, the development of red blisters on the mouth, nose, lips, and other areas of the face, sometimes with fever, inflamed neck glands and body pain, can be the most prominent symptoms.
- These blisters burst after a while, leaving gray colored scars which then develop into yellowish crusts.
- This yellow crust then disappears by the end of the second week from infection.
- The virus then goes into a dormant state within the spinal cord and reproduces there.
- The virus continues to grow and reproduce in your body and might cause recurring symptoms usually at times of physical or mental stress.
There is no cure for these blisters, but a vaccine is being developed. The only remedy is, antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, which help in reducing the pain and symptoms of the sores. It also reduces the frequency of appearance of the symptoms. Scientists are working towards making ointments, which could be applied to the area. The other antiviral drugs are famciclovir and valacyclovir. Direct application creams are also available, some of which are docosanol and tromantadine. Some researches have also indicated that tea tree oil or melaleuca oil can help in inhibiting the formation of blisters. There are also a number of home remedies for cold sores. These might be effective to some extent in reducing the pain and blisters.
Fever Blisters in Toddlers
In babies this can develop through the above-mentioned means or in some cases through an infected mother, at the time of delivery. This is a rare condition and is known as Neonatal herpes simplex, where a mother with genital herpes might pass it on to the baby during delivery. This can often be fatal for the child, if not detected early. If detected early, the child can be treated with antiviral drugs, like acyclovir or vidarabine.
It can be a hard and painful time for children with fever blisters, but the symptoms do recede within two weeks. Adequate rest and simple food can make this period easier. The use of antivirals does help to ease the pain to a great extent. Research still continues on what triggers the recurrence of the symptoms and once the causes are found, the cure would not be too far behind.