Can Cold Sores Be Prevented?

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My son keeps getting cold sores. How can I help prevent them?
- Colin

People who get cold sores have the herpes simplex virus in their bodies — so there may not be much you can do to keep your son from getting them now and again. Some kids find that not eating well, feeling stressed, not getting enough sleep, getting sick, or spending time in the sun without sunblock make them more likely to get cold sores. So avoiding these triggers might be helpful.

If others in your family have never had a cold sore, remind them not to share utensils, glasses, napkins, or towels, with anyone who has a cold sore. Also remind your son to wash his hands after touching a cold sore, especially before touching his eyes or genitals, since the virus can spread to other areas of the body.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: July 2013

Related Resources

OrganizationCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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