Children and herpes might sound odd in the same sentence but the combination is not as farfetched as many might think. The reason for this lies in the different strain of herpes available.
When discussions of herpes arise, it often revolves around the widely held view that the disease can only be transmitted via intercourse.
Unfortunately, this is not exactly true. While Herpes is indeed transmittable via sexual means it can also be transmitted via simple physical contact such as a hand shake, a kiss or an innocent hug.
The reason this can occur is because there are two major strains of herpes available—Type 1(HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2).
Type 2 herpes—undoubtedly the more popular of the two—is a strain of herpes which is primarily transmitted via sexual intercourse.
People who suffer from this type of herpes are typically to be found with blisters and sores around their buttocks, thighs and sexual organs. It is these sores that become the contact points from which the virus is transmitted.
Type 1 Herpes on the other hand is the strain of virus that many children can and do suffer from.
Also known as HSV-1 or Oral herpes, this virus results in a series of fever blisters or cold sores on the faces of victims. These outbreaks are typically accompanied with painful headaches or fever.
Although fever sores are primarily placed around their mouth and lips, they can also develop around the eyes, nose and mouth. Sores can also develop in the pharynx, inner cheek, gums and ears of the affected persons.
Sores can either last for a few days or go on for as much as 3 weeks. During this period, each blister undergoes a cycle wherein it oozes fluid, dries up and then forms a scab.
After the scabs fall of the process is usually complete. In some cases however new sores might develop after the old ones have healed. There is as yet no established therapy for the treatment of this type of infection. People can however use lotions and ointments in relieving the pain, inflammation and itching of the sores.
Since this viral strain of herpes can be found on the face and skin of people, children can very easily become affected if they come in contact with an infected person. Simple direct acts such as a good night kiss or hug are more than enough to infect a child.
Children can also become infected with the virus via indirect methods of contact such as drinking from a cup which was used by an infected person.
Among st children, the risk of passing along the virus is a lot higher. This is because children tend to be more playful and less cautious about physical contact. A child with oral herpes in a classroom can very easily infect every other child during the course of the week.
Like most viral infections, the treatment of Oral herpes is centered on an effective management plan. Proper hygiene is important during this period in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
Children who are infected should be taught to wash their hands after it has come in contact with a sore. They should also avoid washing their eyes with infected hands as well.
Despite its low social publicity, oral herpes amongst children is hardly uncommon. It is estimated that almost 80% of Americans have been affected by this strain of virus.
More than half of these suffered their infection as children. Although the blisters caused by the virus fade after a few days, the virus itself remains within the body of the infected person for the rest of his/her life.