Cold Sores, Warts And Verrucas In Children

Cold sores are small blisters, usually on or around the lips but they sometimes develop inside the mouth or elsewhere on the face. They are caused by a virus which, once it has infected a child, lies dormant in the skin and tends to flare up occasionally; so if your child has had a cold sore, they are liable to get others in the future.

Strong sunlight can trigger a recurrence, and so can a minor illness, such as a cold.

Symptoms: Raised, red area that tingles or itches, usually around the mouth; small, painful yellow blisters forming about a day later; blisters crusting over after a day or two and fever, general illness during the first attack.

What can be done: At the first sign of cold sore, hold an ice cube against the affected area for ten minutes. This may prevent the blister developing. If your child develops a blister, apply a soothing cream such as Vaseline. Keep your child’s hands clean, and don’t let them touch the sore, as they could spread the infection to their eyes. Since cold sores are very contagious, don’t let your child kiss other people and, if he tends to put toys into his mouth, don’t let him share them with other children until the sore has gone.

Call the Doctor if: your child has a cold sore for the first time; your child’s cold sore starts to weep or spread; your child has a cold sore near his eyes. The doctor will probably prescribe a cream to be smeared over the affected area several times a day, which will help the blister to heal.

A wart is a lump of hard, dry skin; a verruca is a wart on the sole of the foot. They are caused by virus that invades the skin. Almost all children get occasional warts or verrucas. Warts are not painful, and disappear spontaneously, usually after a few months, so treatment is not necessary.

Verrucas are contagious, and tend to be painful because of the pressure put on them whenever the child walks or wears shoes, so they should be treated promptly. Symptoms of wart are hard lump of dry skin and that of verruca is a hard, painful area on the sole of the foot, perhaps with a tiny black centre.

What can be done: If your child has a wart, simply ignore it, unless it is on his genitals or by his anus. It will disappear on its own, probably after a few months, though some last for a year or more. If your child has a verruca, keep it covered with sticking plaster and don’t let him go barefoot until it has cleared up. It may disappear spontaneously. Keep his towel and sponge separate from those of the rest of the family.

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