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Herpes 1 Cold Sores

Herpes 1 is a childhood illness. Most children experience their first herpes infection before their third birthday. During the primary illness, the child can have a high fever and multiple canker sores on the tongue and gums. The children can feel miserable, and not want to eat. Most children are treated at home, but on occasion a child needs IV hydration. The canker sores start to heal after about a week. As with any viral illness, many children have a version of ‘primary’ herpes 1 illness. There might be a non-specific fever and decreased appetite. The parents might not have brought them to the doctor and realized that they had a canker sore in the back of the throat.

The first herpes 1 illness is usually acquired from a playmate or relative with a cold sore. This is an illness that can pass from mother to child through the generations.

Cold sores are a form of recurrent herpes. The virus, which was acquired years before, reappears, usually on the lip, but sometimes on the cheek, behind the ear, or other part of the body. Stress, fatigue, or an intercurrent viral illness can all act as triggers for the reappearance of a cold sore.

Cold sores are contagious. An anti-viral cream, zovirax, can be placed on a cold sore to prevent spread. An oral form of zovirax can be given to prevent or ameliorate recurrences on the face or eyes.

Herpes 2, which is known as a venereal disease, has a very similar pathway as Herpes 1. It can be acquired from a person with genital lesions, and after a primary infection, can have sporadic reoccurrences. However, Herpes 2, can also be a non-venereal disease. It can be seen as a fever/sore throat in young children. Children can pick up herpes 2 from other children through saliva spread. Presumably an index child picked up the illness from a parent who had a sore throat with Herpes 2. It is very possible for an adult to have a non-venereal sore throat with Herpes 2 and pass it on to a lover.

Case history of a 6 year old with Herpes 2

A kindergarten boy with a 104 fever, sore throat and a cough. He looked and acted just like a child with adenovirus and was sent to the ER for a x-ray. A viral culture was done as part of an academic study. The results came back 6 weeks later — Herpes 2. This was a surprise to the pediatrician and family. The local infectious disease doctor explained the scenario of Herpes 2 being able to spread through a school room in much the same way as Herpes 1.