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How might a child get a cold sore?

Young children usually get cold sores from a family member.  Cold sores are usually caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus type I. When a cold sore is active it is contagious by direct contact. The first time a child gets Herpes Simplex there may be fever and multiple inside the mouth and on the lips.  This is called primary infection. As this infection resolves, the virus can become dormant. During times of stress the virus can then reactivate causing cold sores or fever blisters.  These secondary infections are usually not as severe as the primary infection.  It is during these reactivations that the virus is the most contagious. A doctor might prescribe certain antiviral medications for herpes simplex infections, depending on the age of the patient and the severity of the infection.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.