Children's herpes: important information

Can children contract herpes? How harmful is herpes to this group? Important information about herpes for children is waiting for you in the following:

Children's herpes: important information

Young people can be impacted by herpes, so let's learn about herpes for kids in the following ways:

What is meant by herpes for children?

Children frequently contract the herpes simplex virus, which can cause the herpes type of infection.

Herpes may not be dangerous for adults or older children, but it can be fatal for infants, even though it is uncommon for herpes to infect infants.

Depending on the individual case, this disease may adversely affect different parts of the body. In the case of oral herpes, for example, the disease may be associated with the appearance of oral ulcers known as cold sores .

The virus that causes the disease can pass easily from person to person, especially if the patient has an attack of active mouth sores caused by the virus.

After the appearance of the first bout of the symptoms of the disease in the child, the virus that causes the disease may enter a lethargic stage, to be activated in later stages of life, and then it often appears in the form of an oral cold sore only, nothing more.

Causes of herpes 

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) transmission to the body is a common cause of this disease in children, and some populations are more susceptible to infection than others, such as those with weakened immune systems brought on by other diseases or by taking certain medications.

It's important to note that type 2 HSV-2, which can cause genital herpes, can also cause herpes. However, since this type is frequently transmitted sexually, children are unlikely to contract it.

1. Methods of transmission of herpes to children 

Children's herpes is highly contagious, and it can be transmitted to the child in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • contact with an infected person's herpes sores or exposed blisters.
  • touching infected surfaces or items, such as a towel from an infected person.
  • Direct physical contact, such as hugging, where skin-to-skin contact with the skin of an infected person occurs, is necessary to spread the virus.
  • Kissing a child before they are six months old is not recommended because it exposes them to an infected person's saliva, which can be dangerous for infants with herpes.
  • The birthing process because a mother's infection during childbirth can spread to her unborn child and cause herpes in children.

It is worth noting that the virus can be transmitted from an infected person to a child 24-48 hours before the appearance of herpes blisters.

2. Factors that may reactivate the virus

Certain factors can stimulate the activity of the virus and the appearance of symptoms of herpes disease on the infected person several times during different age periods, such as the following factors:

  • infections from wounds or illnesses, such as the common cold and dehydration.
  • Exposure to sunburn.
  • Going through certain hormonal changes.
  • Fatigue and stress. 
  • exposure to extremes of weather, such as cold, heat, and drought.

Symptoms of herpes for children

The disease's most noticeable expected symptoms, which frequently start to show on the affected child between the ages of 1 and 5, are as follows:

  • Oral gingivitis , whose symptoms include gum pain. 
  • Blisters around the mouth, and these blisters can also show up on the chin, nose, and cheeks.
  • Redness and swelling of the baby's oral cavity.  
  • The child's reluctance to eat and decreased appetite.  
  • Excessive drooling, and the child's tendency to cry quickly. 
  • Fever, swollen lymph nodes.
  • Itching and burning in the areas where the blisters appear.  
  • Sore throat . 

Several days after the appearance of the blisters, certain fluids may begin to come out of the blisters, then a layer of crusts may form on the skin before the affected area begins to recover, knowing that the virus can reactivate at a later age.

Diagnosis of herpes for children

The disease can be diagnosed through:  

  1. Subject the child to a physical examination and investigate the apparent symptoms.
  2. Carrying out blood tests for the child.
  3. Taking a swab from the child's skin for laboratory examination.

Herpes treatment for children

Herpes cannot be cured, but it may not need any treatment since the symptoms usually go away on their own in 7–10 days. However, the doctor may suggest the following measures:

  • Prevent the child from touching or scratching the blisters associated with the disease, to reduce the chances of the virus spreading to various parts of the body.
  • Observe specific steps to lessen the child's overall discomfort, such as avoiding acidic foods, applying compresses to the area where symptoms appear, and providing the child with painkillers as required.
  • Avoid exposing the child to factors that may activate the virus.
  • Clean baby items regularly. 

It is worth noting that infant herpes, whose symptoms are limited to the mouth, skin, or eyes, can be treated with antivirals , but if the infant does not receive appropriate treatment, the virus can be transmitted to important organs in his body, which may lead to his death.

Complications of herpes for children

Here's a list of the most notable:

1. Dehydration

Because of the oral ulcers and infections that may appear on the affected child, the process of swallowing, eating or drinking liquids may become difficult, which may reduce the child's appetite, which may lead to dehydration. The following are the primary signs of dehydration:

  • pale skin
  • sunken eyes
  • Cold extremities .
  • decreased urine
  • Dizziness.

2. Encephalitis

In rare cases, the herpes simplex virus for children can trigger encephalitis, and this type of infection may cause the following symptoms:

  • vertigo.
  • convulsions
  • behavioral changes

3. Other complications

such as the following complications:

  • Herpes simplex keratitis, which can cause blindness or corneal scarring.
  • Serious complications for newborns, such as brain damage or death.

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