How Cold Sore Affects Newborns?

The death of newborn babies from infectious cold sore is not uncommon. Babies, particularly newborns are more susceptible to infectious diseases like cold sores as their immune system is underdeveloped and very weak. Moreover, spreading of any infection among children is common as they are completely unaware of the consequences. A great majority of cold sore cases are reported among children aged below 5 and they pose potential risk for spreading the disease to children and around. As the defense mechanism of body in children is weak in comparison to adults, it takes longer for any infectious disease to heal. As for newborn babies infectious diseases like cold sore takes more complicated form. It requires far better protective measures for keeping newborns out of risk of such infectious disorders. Let us have a quick look at how cold sore transmits and affects newborns.

What is cold sore?

Cold sore is an infectious disorder characterized by small fluid filled red blisters on the lips and around the mouth. The disorder is caused by a virus called Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV Type-1) which normally inhabits in tissues under the nerves. Irrespective of their name these sores have nothing to do with cold and can occur at any time of the year. Once it affects the responsible virus cannot be gotten rid of through any curative treatment. Children and newborns are more susceptible as they generally get affected for the first time. Typical symptoms of the disorder include pain in blister spots and other symptoms similar to flu like swollen glands, mild fever, sore throat, etc.

How cold sore is transmitted to newborn babies?

Herpes Simplex virus which is responsible for cold sores is transmitted through body fluid like saliva, sweat, etc. If newborn baby is exposed to someone suffering from cold sores he can be affected with the disease. The virus can affect newborns passing from nurses, parents, caregivers or other babies carrying the virus or suffering from cold sores. As newborns have the weakest or most underdeveloped immune system they are quickly affected and even can be exposed to greater health risks.

While 90 percent of adult population carries the virus kissing a newborn baby out of affection often put him in potential risk of transmission of the disease. Even when a person seems to be devoid of any cold sore symptoms like blisters, he or she may have the virus in their saliva and so their affectionate kiss to the baby can cause the disease. Any type of contact with body fluid like saliva can put the baby in risk of being infected with the virus and so it is extremely crucial to avoid such contacts with newborn babies.

Symptoms and stages of cold sores in newborn babies

In the very initial stage the baby experiences sore mouth and swollen gums. Within just a few days small blisters begin to appear close to the lips or on the lips. The blisters gradually turn into painful sores causing itching pain for the baby. Often this breakout of blisters occurs with mild fever and swollen glands. Because of swollen glands the baby at this stage shows enough irritation and antipathy towards swallowing foods. In just few days the blisters will break apart and gradually vanish. But if the infectious disorder is not treated adequately it would appear again. In cases of recurrent outbreak of cold sores, appearance of blisters is the first symptom rather than sore mouth or swollen glands as happened in the first outbreak. In most cases of recurrence the disease lasts longer than the first time. Here are the important symptoms of cold sores in newborns in various stages of development.

  • Just before the appearance of blisters an itching or tingling or burning sensation prevails on and around the lips and mouth of the baby.
  • In next 2 days small blisters appear on and around the lips.
  • In next 2 days the blisters open exposing the raw reddish skin underneath. These sores are most painful for the baby. This stage is also most contagious with higher possibility of spreading the infection to people around.
  • In next 2 to 3 days these sores dry up causing crusts on the surface. At this stage it is recommended to prevent the baby from picking up the crust and make the sores exposed again.
  • In next few days as the sores dry down some scabs appear and gradually they vanishes by giving the newborn relief from the disorder.

Critical condition and need for medical intervention

Though cold sores are healed automatically but if the virus remained untreated they can return frequently causing longer symptoms each time. Particularly in adolescent children and newborns it can take severe form and lead to long and painful suffering. In many cases cold sores in newborns begins with blisters inside their mouth, in the upper tongue and even gums. This type of cold sores in babies are painful enough making food or drink consumption extremely difficult. This type of severity should be addressed with immediate medical intervention rather than waiting for the sore to be healed automatically.

Cold sores in newborns and babies can even reach the eye threatening their vision and causing greater damage to the eyesight. As newborn babies and children have a habit of frequently touching their eyes, the infection can quickly threaten sensitive organs such as eye. This is why for babies affected with cold sores must be prevented from touching their eyes. In cases where the infection reached eyes immediate medical intervention is necessary to prevent damage to the eye. Most important of all, newborn babies should be kept away from any type of physical encounter except the caregivers, because the disease spreads through body fluid and even can spread through a caring kiss.

Author Bio: Joydeep Majumder writes articles in preventive care area. Here he discussed on various aspects regarding Cold Sore in newborn babies. You can find different cold sore treatment that can be used to cure cold sore successfully.