Fever blisters, also known as cold sores, are small, painful, red blisters that mostly appear around the mouth, nose and chin. This contagious skin condition is caused by the herpes simplex virus Type 1. An outbreak can last one week to ten days. There are several treatments to alleviate the symptoms of fever blisters which include home remedies, over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs. The treatment to heal or prevent fever blisters is the same for children and adults, but toddlers have a lower tolerance for pain. In treating fever blisters in toddlers the main thing is to make the child as physically comfortable as possible.
Treat the fever. With younger children a fever may accompany the fever blisters. Apply cold compresses to the child’s forehead and use over-the-counter medications to treat fever in children such as those with acetaminophen. Read the directions on the label and give the toddler the medicine based on age and weight.
Apply ice packs to the cord sores. This is an easy home remedy that can reduce pain and swelling. Move the ice pack around and use for only 15 minutes at a time. Another option is to apply a cool, damp washcloth to the sore to relieve pain.
Apply over-the-counter cold sore ointments. Products that contain numbing agents offer pain relief for the short term. When applied they initially sting so children don’t like these types of ointments. But they are effective in reducing the pain and discomfort.
Apply sunscreen. Exposure to the sun can trigger cold sores outbreaks on the face. Sunblock and sunscreen can reduce the chances of an outbreak. Lip balms with SPF 15 or higher can be used as a preventive measure also. Children like lip balms. These products come in a wide rage of flavors.
Use children’s pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers made for children are a good idea when the child is in pain. Pain relievers with ibuprofen and acetaminophen are best for children. Aspirin is not recommended. It has been linked to diseases like Reyes Syndrome.
Don’t use Abreva. This ointment is available over-the-counter and is used to reduce the length of a cold sore outbreak. It is effective when applied to each fever blister, but it is not recommended for younger children, especially those under 12 years of age.
Ask your pediatrician about prescription drugs for fever blisters. There are several prescription drugs that reduce the healing time of cold sores and reduce the number of outbreaks, but not all are approved for children. If your toddler has frequent and painful outbreaks consult with your doctor for advice.