Ahh, cold sores. Most adults have had these unsightly and painful blisters at some point in their lives. For most people, they’re just annoying. But, as a parent, it can be quite alarming when you see one popping on your kid’s lip or mouth, especially if you’ve never experienced it before. 

Don’t worry!  This article shares everything you need to know about cold sores in kids. 

Cold Sores: What Are They?

Cold sores are small, painful, and infectious blisters that typically appear around the mouth and lips. However, they can sometimes pop out on the chin, cheeks, and nose. These blisters become fluid-filled sores and form a crust over a few days. 

Symptoms can vary from child to child, depending on whether it’s the first time they’ve had cold sores or have experienced them multiple times already. For most kids, the sores will go away on their own; on the one hand, some kids may get very sick from them.

If this is your child’s first time, then the cold sores may also include severe symptoms, such as fever, sore throat, swollen lymph glands, red gums that may bleed, and excessive drooling. 

Do Cold Sores Come Back?

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus 1. Once a child is infected with this virus, it will stay in their body and become dormant or inactive for long periods. However, it can become active at any time and cause another bout of cold sores. This can happen when the body’s immune system weakens or if the skin becomes irritated. 

In general, some of the common triggers of cold sores include:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Illness, such as flu or cold
  • Injuries or breaks in the skin
  • Poor diet and dehydration
  • Exposure to intense heat, sunlight, cold, or dryness
  • Fluctuating hormones, especially during puberty

What You Can Do

Now that you know more about cold sores and their triggers, as a parent, what can you do when your child gets them. How do you manage outbreaks?  Read on!

  1. Avoid Triggers

Knowing and preventing triggers are the first steps to preventing painful outbreaks. 

For instance, if your child’s cold sores are triggered by skin dryness and irritation, have your child apply lotion and use specialized lip balm, like the one discussed in an article by Luminance RED. You also want to protect your child before heading outdoors by making them wear a hat. 

Moreover, keep your child’s hands out of their mouth. Don’t let them touch their face with their hands. You also want to keep their immune system strong by making sure that they get enough sleep, exercise, and a well-balanced diet. Also, help your kid in managing their stress levels.

  1. Prevent The Spread

When cold sores develop, you must teach your kid some methods to help prevent the spread of the virus and worsen blisters. Prevent them from picking at or scratching the cold sores as these can further spread the virus to other parts of their body, such as the eyes and fingers. These can also spread the virus to other kids and adults who touch their toys or any object they’ve handled. 

Also, you need to teach your kid to often wash their hands with soap and water. Furthermore, make sure to wash any items or toys that your child uses. Never let your child share cups, napkins, utensils, or other personal items, such as toothbrushes and towels, with other people. In addition, you need to keep your child from kissing or hugging others when they have cold sores. 

  1. Relieve The Pain And Discomfort

Cold sores can be quite painful and itchy. Help your child ease their discomfort by following the simple treatments below:

  • Apply a warm washcloth or ice to the sores to reduce pain. 
  • Icy or chilled treats, such as smoothies and popsicles, can help soothe tender lips while avoiding dehydration. 
  • Don’t let your child eat acidic foods when they have cold sores. These types of food can cause further pain and even irritate cold sores. 
  • You can use home remedies, like saltwater and aloe vera, to help reduce pain, inhibit the virus’s growth, and encourage faster healing and recovery. 
  • If your child has a severe cold sore outbreak or the sores continue to hurt, particularly if they don’t want to drink or eat because of the pain, you can ask your pediatrician to prescribe a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Your pediatrician may also suggest an OTC cream or prescription anti-viral creams to help control and reduce cold sore symptoms while reducing outbreak duration. 


As a parent, you tend to stress too much when it comes to your kid’s health. And, when these weird blisters start to pop out of your kid’s mouth, it’s only natural to feel anxious and worried. Nevertheless, hopefully, this article has provided you with enough information about cold sores in kids and how to handle them when they appear.