Herpes, Cold Sores, and Canker Sores
Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Health >
Herpes, Cold Sores, and Canker Sores
My son has continual cold sores around the edges of his lips. He
has just turned 15 (and also just started high school this year).
It seems when one finally goes away another one starts. He is
also breaking out alot an some of the pimples almost look like
the cold sores. Can cold sores also be on your face, or just
around the lips? Either way, does anyone have a method of
controlling them that is effective and easy for a teen to use?
Cold sores can absolutely be on your face. My husband has breakouts
even inside his nose, and once had one the size of a quarter very near
his eye. In
his case, they appear to be mostly brought on by sun exposure and made
stress. So limiting those two things might help in your son's case.
wears 50+ sunscreen anytime he's going to be outside.
But, once an outbreak starts, the only thing that helps is the
acyclovir. I would definitely see a doctor about this. If my husband
acyclovir the moment he notices a cold sore beginning to tingle, he can
significantly shorten the time and severity of the outbreak; also, I
medication can be used preventatively.
Is he on acyclovir? If not, ask his doctor!
I swear by taking one Lysine and one Vitamin C tablet per day.
It has curbed my 'cold sores' for seventeen years.
know the feeling
Cold sores typically result from a viral infection called herpes
simplex virus (HSV). After the first occurrence, the viral
particles remain alive within the nerve endings that supply that
specific location, which is why the sore recurs in the same
place. The virus can also spread to a new location, so wash
hands and mouth area frequently.
Sunlight, stress, or fever may trigger new sores, so a sunblock
on the lips and around the mouth can help prevent new sores. Get
plenty of rest and eat a healthy diet. When the tingling starts
that signals the beginning of a new cold sore, hold a cotton ball
with isopropyl alcohol on it until the pain and tingling go away.
See your doctor about the possible acne. The acne could cause
additional stress, making the cold sores even worse. The doctor
can also prescribe stronger treatments if the isopropyl alcohol
doesn't work. If the outbreak gets close to the eye area or if
the lesions become infected, see your doctor immediately.
Yes - the type of cold sores you're describing sound like the
herpres virus - it can be horrible to have,embarassing to walk
around with, not to mention very painful. Over 80% of the
population has the virus, but in most people it is latent, only
some people actually get the topical break-outs. Lucky us! BUT
it is totally manageable with medication. Depending on how
seriously you are prone to break-outs you can take oral meds
(much better than anythign available topically) preventatively
every day, or only as needed when you feel a cold sore coming
on.(The generic name for the medication is Acyclovir, the brand
name is Valtrex. Valtrex can be taken 1X/day whereas Acyclovir
is prescribed in a dose to be taken 3X/day - so I pay the
extras for Valtex in exchange for the ease of use.) I'm not
sure if the meds/doses vary for teenagers, but take your son to
a dermatologist, or even his regular MD ASAP. This is not
something he has to suffer with!
finally cold-sore free
I am yet another person who has always suffered with cold
sores/fever blisters/oral herpes - I started getting the blisters
as a very young child (5 years old) and now only get one or two a
year. I second all the advice about Acyclovir or Valtrex; I have
also had a lot of success with Lysine, which you can take daily
or a bunch when you feel a sore coming on. Also, Abreva, which is
an expensive but over-the-counter ointment, has been a miracle
unlike any other topical things I have tried. It significantly
helps shorten the sores even if I don't get it in time to prevent
As a health educator, I also wanted to put out there a reminder
that, as a herpes virus, cold sores CAN be transmitted to
someone's genitals through oral sex. Although the type of herpes
virus that causes cold sores and the type that causes genital
herpes are slightly different, both viruses can take root in both
places. When I learned this later in life, I was really pissed at
my pediatrician for not telling me this in highschool. He always
emphasized how it wasn't the same as genital herpes. I understand
that he was trying to make me feel better as an anxious teen, but
a) he neglected to consider that I, like most of my peers, was
having oral sex, and b) it just reinforces the idea that genital
herpes is dirty. Anyway, I now have several good friends who have
gotten genital herpes via oral sex with someone with a cold sore,
so please make sure your son knows that he has to be careful -
for his sake and any of his future partners!
herpes: don't pass it on
My son is 2 1/2 years old, in April of this year he had what the
Peditrician called Hand, Foot and Mouth. However, this week - he
has gotten two places on the outside of his lip that the
Peditrician is calling Cold Sores.
He is constantly biting his lip in those two areas - so I am
questioning if this is a cold sore or where he has just cut in
the skin from all of the biting. When I was young I use to bite
my top lip constantly.
Needless to say it is not healing because he is constantly
biting the two places.
Has anyone else had a child this young with cold sores and if so
any advice would be great? Also if you use to have cold sores
and don't have them anymore - please let me know so I will know
if there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Your 2 yo might have a yeast allergy, which can cause cold
sores. This might mean dairy, sugar, fermented foods, foods
that mold easily (grapes, ,raisins)...I'd check this out
Cold sores are the body telling you that the immune system is run
down. This could happen from not enough sleep, stress, being on
the go too much, or simply not eating well enough.
I have a great idea for you - kefir! It really supports the
immune system and is good to drink regularly. You can buy it in
the store, but it's considerably more potent and cheaper if you
make it yourself (you would obtain kefir starter grains from
someone- like on eBay or through the kefir groups (don't buy
commercial starter powder from the store - it's not the real
thing)). Making kefir is really easy and the work you put into it
is only 5 minutes each time you want to drink a cup.
Good health to you.
Our 28 month old son has had cold sores (HSV-1) since he was a year old.
(most certainly contracted from one of us) His initial outbreak was severe and
prolonged, and he had frequent recurrences. The outbreaks are becoming less
and less frequent (now about 1 a month) and less severe. We are doing what we
can (acyclovir, homeopathy, diet) to support what we understand to be his
immune system's coming to terms with and controlling the virus.
He has been in a wonderful home daycare 3 days a week (3-6 kids, 6 mos. - 4
years) since he was 9 months old. We're very careful to keep him home if he
has an outbreak and no other kids at the day care have ever caught it.
Nevertheless, our son has been ''expelled'', possibly owing to the provider's
expanding her operation. Some of the other families in the daycare, with whom
we would socialize and have playdates, and informal childcare trades seem to
have made themselves scarce as well.
He is starting to miss his friends and we are heartbroken for him. We are also
stressed and financially strapped as we search for another daycare situation.
And we are feeling abandoned by people who we thought were our friends.
We read over half of the adult population has been exposed to the cold sore
virus, mostly in childhood. We seem to have fallen in with the other half! Are
there any other families out there that have dealt with this?
What about childcare in a group setting for a child who gets cold sores? What
are typical providers' policies? Any settings just for kids who get cold sores?
How to help our son deal with the sudden turnover in friends, most of whom he
has know since before his first birthday?
How to meet other families with kids who have already been exposed to the
virus for playdates and informal childcare exchange for days when our son has
an active outbreak?
Parents of Diseased Pariah
I'm so sorry to hear that you are going thru this with your
toddler. It's obviously very difficult and challenging for you.
I had a scare last year where I thought my son may have
contracted herpes, as he woke up with what appeared to be a
coldsore. After days of agonizing and worry, his tests came
back negative, but not before I had a glimpse into what you
must be feeling.
I know this doesn't help you at all, but most parents will do
everything they can to protect their children for coming into
contact with a virus that may cause lifelong, frequent coldsore
outbreaks. A great percentage of adults have been exposed to
the herpes virus, HSV1 at least, but adults don't play and
interact like kids do. Children drool, wrestle, crawl on each
other, spit, kiss, chew on toys and engage each other in ways
that adults don't. They may not understand ''limits'' on play and
may not recognize the warning signs of a pending outbreak, when
they may be at their most contagious.
Some people are very susceptible to multiple and frequent
outbreaks. This usually lessens with time, although it can take
several years or even decades. Hopefully it won't be so long in
the case of your son. Best of luck.
Finally, while I think it's great to seek out others in the
same situation, please be aware that there are different
strains of herpes (HSV1, HSV2, others?) and having one type
won't necessarily protect your child in the event that they
come across another.
One mom's thoughts
Your issue has come up for me throughout my life. I was a
child with coldsores, my own children used to get them
frequently (thankfully seem to be getting over it), and I work
in the childcare industry. While CDC and the State of
California Health Codes will tell you not to keep children with
sores out of the childcare setting, parental fear is hard to
deal with. You can't educate everyone you come into contact
with. It is pretty hard to spread, although possible. We got
permission from our doctor to use Abreva on our son, even
though he was under the suggested age. After using it 2-3
times, he hasn't had an outbreak in years. So, if your child
is too young now, you have that to look forward to in the
future. For myself, I had success when I was a young adult
with a Chinese Herbalist who gave me a tea that cleared them up
for ten years. When possible, if your child will let you,
cover the sore with a bandaid. What people don't see they
don't question. Also, try to avoid oily and salty foods during
an outbreak, it makes it take longer to heal. I have had some
success icing a sore for 20 minutes at the first sign, but with
a little one you're not going to catch it that early. Good
luck to you!
mom & kids with coldsores
here are some facts about herpes virus and cold sores that i
found interesting when learning about it in medical school.
approximately 80% of people in the US have been exposed to
herpes virus. and only about half of these people will EVER
get a cold sore in their lives. the old method of checking
blood to detect whether or not one has been exposed is
ridiculous in my opinion, since 80% is a large number.
besides, if it's positive, then what? it used to be that HSV 1
represented genital herpes and HSV2 labial or facial cold
sores. but that no longer applies and it doesn't matter anyway-
it's the same clinically. if your child gets cold sores, just
keep him away from playgroup until it has scabbed over. or
healed altogether if it makes everyone feel better. the most
important thing is to not make your child feel stigmatized.
that is destructive and hurtful. most infections happen
because someone is shedding virus without clinical symptoms
(ie, likely 80% of us). people will judge because your child
has cold sores. but try not to get too upset about it. it
runs rampant in the population and i truly believe it's genetic
whether or not you actually develop them. i get them (about
every 2 years, but DH doesn't. surely he's been exposed!) if
your child gets more than 6 episodes a year, that is indication
for prophylactic antiviral medication. and there is great,
safe medication out there that i give even my pregnant patients.
My period resumed about 14 months into nursing my toddler, which was fine.
But the third month it was back, I had a herpes outbreak right before my
period, which was not so fine. I've had herpes for nearly 20 years, and
hadn't had an outbreak for the last 8 years or so. Also, for years I only
had a single sore, always in the same location (the virus traveled down the
same nerve each time), but this time I had multiple sores in a totally
I can't help but wonder if there's a connection between the hormonal upheaval
of resuming ovulation after breastfeeding and the return of the herpes.
Anyone have a similar experience? Can I expect more frequent outbreaks now?
Will it stick to the new location or move around even more? My OB-GYN has
zero curiosity as to why the disease has changed in nature, so I turn to you.
My youngest is 2 years old & like you, I did start having my
outbreaks about a year after he was born. I truly think it's
just the stress of motherhood. Before my kids I would only break
out maybe once a year, now it's every month. I noticed that I
get them right before my period & now for each & every little
thing. I'm just kind of think that our bodies are tired all of
the time. Being a mom & working I know that I'm getting less
rest & let's face it, being a mom IS stressful wether we think
it or not. But maybe our bodies have changed due to pregnancies
because I never had outbreaks when my period is coming but now
it's like clock work, it keeps me aware when it's coming now.
And yes, it use to be in one place & now I will get them
everywhere. Not just having the consent discomfort but it's a
bearing on my relationship as well. Having so many outbreaks now
sex is like on the back burner. SO all I can say is, take some
time out for yourself. I have started doing that & I noticed a
little difference. I just can't see myself taking that pill
everyday for the rest of my life so I opt not to do that. My
spouse is unhappy about that, but that's only because he's not
getting what he wants. But like I said, get massages & get some
ME time. You may not think you need it, but your body is telling
you different. Good luck! I wish they would find a
While I can't help you with the return of your period, I'm in
menopause, I can offer some advice regarding the Herpes. I have
had Herpes since I was 12 (first outbreak). This went on until I
was 28, at which point i read a study done by the Linus Pauling
Institute. They recommended Vit. C with Lysine every day, and
if you have a bad outbreak take it several times a day. We were
going to Mexico, I got sunburnt, had severe breakout all over
both lips...started on the C and Lysine and the outbreak went
away within a week. This made me a believer and ever since I
have sworn by C & Lysine. I take 500mg per day. I am now in my
50's and can honestly say that in all this time I have probably
had no more than 4 outbreaks, and I attribute those to when I
got complacent and quit, or was under big time stress. Since I
have Herpes one I do not know if this will work on Herpes II,
but it won't hurt to try.
know the feeling
Me too! Not exactly the same, but similar numbers - about 15 yrs
with herpes, always in same place except during pregnancy (one
outbreak) and then recently (2 yrs post partum) - and I've had
some really bad outbreaks over the last few months. They do seem
to be mellowing out again. I am guessing part of it is due to
the tired/run down factor. But I am sure pregnancy/breast
feeding has changed things.
I can't answer your questions, but can refer you to a San
Francisco support group for people with herpes. It's run by very
knowledgable medical professionals who hopefully could help you.
I've attended in the past, and it's very, well, supportive.
They may be willing to talk with you outside of the support group
meeting, also. Here is info about the next meeting, and contact
San Francisco HELP Group Meeting
Date: Wednesday April 18, 2007
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Repeat: This event repeats every month on the third Wednesday.
Location: St. Mary's Hospital
Street: 450 Stanyan St., 3-East Conf. Room, San Francisco, CA
City/State/Zip: email: HELP_SF[at]yahoo.com for more info
or email HELP_SF[at]yahoo.com for more info.
Have questions about herpes? Or do you want to support others who
have been newly diagnosed? Then please attend a meeting of San
Francisco HELP - a confidential support group meeting for people
with genital herpes. If you're new and not quite up to mingling
at a social event, this is a great first step. If you're a
veteran, it's a great way to support newcomers and keep up with
the latest information.
3rd Wednesday of every month at 7:30 PM
St. Mary's Hospital, 3-East Conf. Room
Near GG Park/Panhandle/Haight-Ashbury
Take Elevators to 3rd Floor, room is across from elevators.
--Wishing you well.
I've had herpes since age 26 (am now turning 50). Yes, there
is some connection between periods and outbreaks. I also have
friends with this weird virus who report that they also tend to
have an outbreak prior to their period. I've noticed that
stress brings it on, lack of sleep, especially late nights, is
bad (got to be asleep before 11:00!), alcohol, caffeine and
spicy hot food are all no-no's for herpes sufferers. I also
had the the experience of breaking out in different parts of my
body than where it originally started. BTW-- I was exposed to
this by a boyfriend who had a lot of stress in his life and he
would get ''cold sores'' in his mouth. No one at the time (1984)
seemed to know that the virus could be passed to the
genital/buttocks area. Anyhow, I have found a wonderful
Chinese acupuncturist who has done wonders to help me manage
this nasty and annoying affliction. She's in Petaluma, but
it's been worth it. Don't know what I'll do should she retire.
managing in Marin
My Herpes had been mostly in remission for over 10 years with only a n
occasional minor outbreak. This was great news in terms of pregnancy and
child birth because I could have a normal birth. After my duaghter was born I
was still free of outbreaks. My period came back when my daughter was almost
a year old. I was still free of outbreaks and horrible migraines too. I nursed my
duaghter for 3 1/2 years. After my duaghter was weaned I started to notice
huge mood swings and terrible depression. I started getting really bad
migraines. I decided to go on Prozac. It helped with everything, except I started
getting regular herpes outbreaks, once a month and in more places
than before. At first I attributed it to the Prozac. I had stop taking it and
eventually the outbreaks cleared up and now I hardly ever get them again. My
duaghter is now 6 1/2 years old and I'm 46 and I'm starting to experience
another hormonal change and I'm getting migraines again every month. After
reading your post and other replies and looking back at my situation, I would
have to say that the herpes outbreaks I experienced after I my duaghter was
weaned were definitely related to the change in hormones that occur after
weaning. The outbreaks came right before every menstral period. I don't think
it had anything to do with the Prozac. My Docter didn't think it did either at the
time. But your body does usually level out again. Mine did. I'm currently
outbreak -free, although now I'm having to deal with the whole menopausel
stuff. It will be interesting to see if the herpes outbreaks come back again.
Sometimes medications can increase the incidence of herpes outbreaks. I am a
medical provider and 2 of my patients got much more severe outbreaks when they
were on Zoloft and when they went off Zoloft the outbreaks decreased dramatically.
I have occasional cold sores (herpes) and I think it might be
due to eating chocolate and peanuts together. Does this make
any sense? What do other people have to avoid (food or
otherwise) to avoid cold sore out breaks? Is there any way to
get them to heal faster? Mine always take about 10 days to
I can't speak for actually preventing outbreaks, but have you tried
Abreva or the other products like it? My outbreaks used to last a long
time, like yours, but now I put on the medication at the first signs and
it's gone the next day.
Worth a try :)
frequent cold sore candidate
Chocolate is a big one for herpes sufferers. I used to get sores from
eating chocolate and coffee together (a major bummer for my mocha
habit). The oils plus the sugar in chocolate make it a prime suspect for
Some of the things I've done to help prevent/stave off outbreaks
avoid extra salts and sugars (especially tough when I'm premenstrual and
wanting salt and sugar - but manageable) Lots of sleep - sounds silly
but extra sleep, especially when feeling stressed can help reduce your
Reducing stress and stressful situations - not all things are avoidable
but trying to eliminate undue stress has helped curb my previously
Lastly, using Abreva has really helped. At the first tingle or itchy
feeling I start applying it. I have had the same tube for nearly a year
now (and the tube is TINY) and there is still a ton in there. It doesn't
take much but be diligent and keep applying even if you get an outbreak
until the sore is all the way gone.
This has helped reduce my outbreak from 8-10 days to 4-5 days.
Also, lots of water, avoiding licking your lips or irritating the area
and avoid chapstick on the area while there is an outbreak.
Keep the outbreak dry and be extra cautious about spreading it to others
- namely children with sharing cups, straws etc.
Good luck, herpes sucks!
Mom of Two
Hi there, fellow sufferer. I've been getting cold sores since I was in
second grade, and had them constantly while I was a kid/teenager. And I
ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches, and reeses peanut butter cups
were my favorite candy. I've since cut peanuts completely out of my
diet, and eat only dark chocolate. I also avoid citrus. The frequency of
my outbreaks has dramatically decreased (now the things that get me are
the excessive stress/menstrual hormone 1-2 punch or a meal that was
cooked with peanut oil without my knowledge). No, you're not crazy. My
cousin has the same triggers.
i miss my pb&j's
Herpes is likely to break out when one eats foods heavy in l-arginine,
the sister to l- lysine -- proteins. When the balance is to l-lysine,
the breakouts are unlikely.
Chocolate and nuts are two big l-arginine guys. I think grains might be,
too, but I'm not sure. I bet you could find it easily on the web --
lists of arginine and lysine -rich foods.
There are also l-lysine supplements, with no side effects that I'm aware
of. I've prevented and healed herpes with them. If you want to go drugs,
I take acyclovir now 2Xday and it completely prevents any outbreak Good
You say: ''I think it might be due to eating chocolate and peanuts
together. Does this make any sense?'' I say: No.
You may have a chocolate sensitivity, I suppose. My herpes outbreaks
(thankfully now quite infrequent) were triggered by stress, too much
sun, or a high fever. anon
Sorry I missed this earlier as I have some WONDERFUL advice. I have had
herpes since I was 12 years old. I'm from So. Calif and exposure to the
sun is a BIG trigger for me. When I was 27 I read an artical about Dr.
Linius Pauling who did a study on people with herpes. Long story short,
Vit C with Lysine once a day. If you are under stress and have an
outbreak, take 3x's a day (500mg of each) and this will help with the
duration. Mine used to last for 10-14 days. I am now 55. I have had
'maybe' 5 outbreaks since I began way back when. Usually I get an
outbreak due to becoming complacent and missing for a few weeks.
I used to have an outbreak, on average, 3 times per year. I swear by
this, I hope it works for you. been there
I have also had Herpes since I was a child. I suffered for years with
them running their course (about 2 weeks). The doctor suggested
Glycerin when I was a child & used that for years. It didn't help much
but did help with the pain. I've also tried over the counter things,
which didn't work as well as what's next. As an adult my aunt told me
about Lysine. I buy the big Costco/Sam's size and at the slightest
tingling I feel, I pop about 6 large pills (I weigh 115 lbs). Lysine is
an amino acid. I continue to take a lg. amt. for about 2-3 days by then
the sore has gone. I've never encountered any negative effects from
doing this either. It's the most amazing thing I've tried. I know all
the other suggestions are great such as more sleep etc, but not all of
us can do all of that. The Lysine works even w/out doing all of that.
Past Cold Sore Sufferer
I get canker sores in my mouth frequently - typically, when I'm
tired or stressed. Does anyone know of any good/safe products
to treat them - over the counter, holistic or prescription -
for a quick and less painful experience? I've tried many
things - but typically just have to let them take their
I have the exact same problem. In addition to stress, I find canker
sores can develop if I bite my lip while eating.
If I discover a sore early, I rinse with mouthwash 2x/day. The sore
usually retreats without becoming big and painful. If I discover the
sore late, the mouthwash is not as effective, but I use it anyway. It
might be smart to use mouthwash every day as a profilactic measure to
stop new sores anon
I saw a dentist about this when they got so bad; I was extremely tired
and stressed and that's when they come back. He recommended Vitamin B
supplements, especially because I'm vegetarian. Also I find it happens
when i've had way too much sugar and my immune system is lowered. So I
cut down/out sugar & caffeine, drink lots of water, eat dark green leafy
veg, take vit B, vit C, and REST..
been there with you
I used to have the same problem. My dentist suggested using toothpastes
without sodium lauryl sulfate. This is an inactive ingredient which
irritates the sore and is found in most toothpastes. Two brands I have
found without it: Rembrandt makes a special toothpaste for canker sores,
which is very expensive, but works. Also Sensodyne- one of the flavors,
maybe original? I used to read all of the ingredients on every tube of
toothpaste, but thankfully, I no longer have this problem, so there may
be other brands out there without it. Anyway, this definately helped me.
I have found that rinsing/gargling with very salty water, as hot as
you can stand it, really helps. Also, dabbing hydrogen peroxide directly
on the canker sore full strength seems to help too. Drip a few drops on
the sore from a q-tip, let it bubble for a minute or two, then rinse
your whole mouth out with warm water.
However, i have also found that certain foods seem to trigger the
sores--if I eat a lot of chocolate, have a lot of orange juice, or too
many tomatoes, I tend to get a canker sore soon afterwards.
Since the virus that causes these is (I think) in the same family as the
viruses that cause chicken pox, shingles, and cold sores, lysine (an
amino acid) should help prevent them, too. Corn is high in lysine--or
you can get it inexpensively in the supplement store (I get mine at
Trader Joe's). It is worth a try. Best wishes!
Once when I caught hand, foot and mouth from my infant and had
unbelievably awful lesions in my throat my sister recommended gargling
with equal amounts of a malox and children's benadryl (mixed together).
It worked wonders! It just sort of coats the open areas and deadens
them. So perhaps that might work for you...just gargle and spit - don't
swallow Hope that Helps!
Whenever I get canker sores in my mouth, I use an herbal powder found in
Chinese herbal stores called Watermelon Frost. The ingredients are
written in Chinese, which infortunately I cannot read, but I've used it
since I was a little girl and swear by it. You apply right onto the sore
at nighttime before bed until the sore goes away. It has a bitter taste
to it but it really shortens the healing process!! Good luck!!
here's a picture of how it looks...(I did a serch and found
Hope this helps!
This is about the ''watermelon frost'' cure for canker sores. I admit I
am a horrible skeptic. However, it made me nervous that the person
using ''watermelon frost''
could not read the ingredients--not that it would make a big difference
in the case below. I suggest great caution and care with herbal cures.
There I have said it, and I will add to my crime by saying that I in
fact have lived in China and would never use Chinese medicine. I have
looked up previous ''cures'' before and the ingredients can be
horrifying, including major steroids and so on that are perfectly
plants. And of unknown dosage in the ''medicines''. So I looked up
frost in the scientific literature and this is what I have found, just
from a brief search and the first scientific article I found:
''Mercury intoxication presenting with tics'' by Albert M Lia, Michael H
M Chanb, T F Leunga, Robert C K Cheungb, Christopher W K Lamb, T F Foka,
Archives of Disease in Childhood 2000;83:174
''The ''Watermelon Frost'' that our patient took contained 878 ppm of
mercury, mainly in the inorganic form. Although methylmercury
constituted only 2% of total mercury in the CMH [Chinese Medicinal Herb]
preparation, the content was 18 times the action level of mercury in
food as proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.''
''Owing to the extensive modifications of drug formulations and chemical
extraction from an expanding range of natural products, more cases of
adverse reactions have been reported in recent years. Even batches of
CMH [Chinese Medicinal Herbs] from the same manufacturer may contain
variable amounts of active or potential toxic ingredients, as
illustrated by our case. Though still relatively rare, heavy metal
poisoning with CMH should always be suspected if a previously healthy
child develops unusual symptoms, especially those involving the central
I know this is wrong because I forgot the name of the product I use, but
you should be able to get it at any store. It's a paste & the tube says
for canker sores. I'm trying to picture how the tube looks, which is bad
because I need some more myself. But it works GREAT. It's like a paste &
I usually put it on the sore at night when I'm on my way to bed so that
you are not talking. In the morning it's gone. You can use it throughout
the day, but then if you talk you might taste it & it has a funny pasty
I'm sorry I don't know the name but just go to longs or walgreens & look
at them & see if you can open a few, maybe a pharmacist can open it or
tell you which one has a pasty white cream anon
I tried everything over the counter and most stuff just didn't work for
me. But, I have found three things that did work:
1) I switched to sensodyne toothpaste (the regular toothpaste has a
detergent that is abrasive - dentist recommended this
2) use Amosan by Oral-B (also recommended by the dentist)
3) the best topical ointment I have found is 'bonjela' but I bought it
in the UK -- it works wonders for me.
I have been virtually canker sore free for an entire year, which is a
miracle since I got them every month before trying the above anon
I suffer from canker sores often too - usually from stress or biting my
lip. I know how painful they can be. I always used Oral-B/Kanka or
similar in the past to numb the pain, but I had a negative reaction to
the benzocaine the last time (my entire lip swelled) so I can't use it
anymore. Something to try is a mouth rinse called Rincinol. It is not
the best tasting, but it does not contain medication and forms a
protective film. It doesn't take away the pain totally, but it is a
huge relief! It is also safe to swallow. Another thing to try is a
mixture of equal parts of pepto bismol and milk of magnesia. Swish and
spit, but also safe to swallow. A pediatrician recommended this for my
sister when she developed them on her tongue. This mixture is often
used in combination with lidocaine in cancer patients, who get the sores
all the way down their esophagus.
It's called BML (lidocaine is RX only). I also read where an ingredient
in many commercial toothpastes can make you more susceptible - it is
recommended to use a toothpaste such as Tom's Natural Anticavity
toothpaste or Rembrandt Canker Sore toothpaste. these do not contain
the ingredient (I think it's sodium laurel sulfate, but can't be sure).
Hope one of these helps! Good luck to you!
I suffered from frequent canker sores for many years and recently
discovered that they were due to a food allergy (gluten in my case).
Mine came frequently, were very painful, and took a long time to heal
(sometimes weeks). If this sounds familiar, you may want to consider
whether something you're eating is causing the outbreaks.
I do not find OTC medications very helfpul. Dentists apparently can
prescribe something more potent, but I never tried. Some things that
helped to some degree
include: brushing teeth frequently to keep the mouth clean, but avoiding
toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate; avoiding tomatoes,
oranges, peaches; eating plain yogurt; washing mouth with salt water
several times each day Finally sore-free
A huge help has been Rembrant Canker Sore toothpaste. They claim that it
takes care of 80% of canker sores according to studies, and I would say
that is true for me. I forget the name of the canker-sore causing
ingrediant (lauryl sulfate maybe?) that is in almost all other
toothpaste, but this Rembrant formula doesn't have it. You can
definitely get it at the Walgreens on 51st and Telegraph in Oakland, or
online. The true lifesaver, though, has been Triamcinolone Acetonide
Dental Paste USP, 0.1%. It was first recommended to me by a doctor who
suffered from canker sores in medical school; do whatever is necessary
to get some as it takes care of a lot of the pain overnight. Finally, my
mom has had luck with taking folic acid daily too hope this helps
Worked out great for me
Try black licorice, the stronger the better. It numbs the area (your
whole mouth, really) and seems to help them go away faster. Try not to
get something with too much sugar since that just hurts Anon
I was a total martyr to cold sores until recently, and I am thrilled to
tell you that I went from at least one outbreak a month to maybe one
every six months. I was doing research online about it (honestly I would
get like three or four in my mouth at once, and man, did they HURT, it
sucked, my glands would swell up in my neck, I couldn't eat...you know
the drill) and discovered that Sodium Laurel Sulfate, which is an
ingredient in most toothpastes can sometimes cause them. I switched to a
toothpaste called, believe it or not, Squigle, and they pretty much went
away. I cannot begin to tell you what a relief this has been for me. The
other product I found that really helped when I do get the odd one now
is called Ora 5. It tastes like crap, but it makes them go away in a day
or so. There's a website called www.dentist.net that sells both the
toothpaste and the yucky effective medicine, and other stuff besides for
canker sores. Good luck!
I have a LOT of experience
with them (35+yrs). I have been plagued with them since about the age
of 10. One time I had 9 all at one time!!!
Some how, many years ago, I was turned onto a B vitamin that is a true
miracle - Pentothenic Acid. I have often taken it every day (for years
at a time) to prevent them. I am back on it again and if I don't take
it religously every day then after about a week I can feel one coming
Pentothenic Acid is a simple B vitamin, expelled in the urine.
It can be taken daily even at high doses with no side effects.
Currently, for prevention, I take 250mg/day. If I miss several days and
feel one comming on, or if I miss long enough to get one, I take 250mg
3x/day (5x/day for the last sore that was particularly long and
I swear by this 1000% and would never live with out Pen. Acid.
But, there was a couple of months about 7 yrs ago that I was under more
stress than could have previously imagined and the sores became a
constant again. So I looked in a health-food store book - Prescription
for Nutritional Healing (2nd
edition) - and found a list of other things to add: Zinc lozenges (do
not exceed recomended dosage)(helped a lot), B complex 100 3x/dy, folic
acid (400mcg/dy), vit C (5000mg/dy), vit A 10,000iu/dy (do some research
on dosages). The book has more to consider adding, along with more
With all this said, once you actually get a sore, it just has to run its
coarse (usually 7-10 days or more). Then Pen. Acid helps with the pain,
though last time I relied heavily on Anbesol several x/dy, especially
before and after every meal.
Hope this helps -
I have plenty of experience with my own cold sores.
When my immune system is down, I tend to get cold sores, swollen gums,
achey teeth. I have food allergies, so eating too much sugar, wheat,
dairy, not getting enough sleep, over stressed, all these things can
bring on cold sores for me.
Maybe I have a form of herpes,I've never checked it out.
Also yeast overgrowth in the system can cause cold sores.
You may want to look at what your daughter is eating....is it possible
she has a wheat, or yeast sensitivity?
Good luck...poor kid, it definately doesn't feel good.
Cool liquids help me.
I get those a fair amount and every time I have to take antibiotics they
get really bad. I think it has something to do with a change in the Ph
in the mouth. peppermint tea has helped me, can she drink from a regular
you might try using some mouthwash or different toothpaste. try
different things, a lot of things can change the Ph of the mouth good
If what you're describing is the same as a canker sore (and I'm pretty
sure it is) we had amazing luck simply by eliminating toothpaste that
contains sodium laurel sulfate. My 5yo had a sore that made him scream
when we brushed his teeth. His dentist recommended that, and the canker
sore disappeared within a couple of days. We used a kiddie-toothpaste
that fit the bill, made by Welde, a German company. It's sold at the
Berkeley Bowl, and comes in yellow packaging. Good luck.
mom of happy mouth
From the number of responses to your post it sounds like there could be a variety of things that could be leading to your daugheter's sores. If it is indeed the result of a herpes virus, I wanted to offer some advice that has greatly helped me with my cold sore outbreaks:
When I firsted volunteering as a medic at Berkeley Free Clinic I learned that in order to replicate the herpes virus requires Arginine an amino acid. It has been found that the amino acid, Lysine, retards Arginime, so you should include in your diet foods high in Lysine and decrease the foods high in L-Arginine.
This is a really good article explaining it much better than I
It's something I manage by taking over the counter Lysine supplements at the first sign of an outbreak (available at any drugstore). Once I started doing this my cold sores would disappear within hours. Im not sure the appropriate dosage of lysine for a child, but you can also regulate it through diet -- dairy, red meat and fish are all great sources of Lysine-- avoid nuts, chocolate and caffeine which are high in Arginine (if your family is vegan then you can be pretty certain this is the problem).
See the site below for a list of Arginine / Lysine balance in foods.
Hope this helps.
Is there a cure for Cold Sores/HSV1, or is this something
that I will ALWAYS have to live with? Has anyone tried
ViraDerm? What about Lysine? What works to prevent an
outbreak and what works to QUICKLY clear one up? I'm
totally bummed out about this.... and would love to hear any
advice on what to do!!
Bummed : (
Abreva is AMAZING. Expensive, but amazing - it really works.
Cold sores used to stay with me for about two weeks. Now,
especially if I can catch it right at the very first tell-tale
tingle, i can prevent the outbreak entirely. If I don't catch
it that early, Abreva still helps - the sores are much smaller
than they would be untreated, and they go away much much much
faster (two days +/-).
Also, make sure you stay out of the sun - that makes 'em
I never had much luck with any other treatment.
Herpes is opportunistic, as most viruses are, and stress plays a big role
in reducing the immune system's ability to win the fight. Licorice supports
the adrenals, the
glands that coordinate our immune system (when not otherwise occupied with
stress). Avoid with high blood pressure, however. Lysine can be helpful
outbreak but duration is 2-3 weeks. Use with vitamin E complex. Melissa
officinalis (lemon balm- grows in the garden like mint) is an effective
herb available in
cream specifically for cold sores. It also is a lovely, calming nervine
Hey-I struggled with cold sores for years until my doctor
prescribed penciclovir. I used the cream because I was
nursing. Just the other day I felt that all too familiar
itching on my lip, looked in the miror, and my lip was already
twice as big as normal. I immediately put on the cream every 2
hours as directed (I always have it with me just in case), took
triple the dose of Lysine, and it went away without ever
becoming a sore. Such a change from a few years ago when it
would take weeks of pain and humiliation for a cold sore to
While I'm not usually someone who goes out a tries ''different''
forms of medicine, a few years ago I went to a Chinese herbalist
about cold sores. I had them a few times a year for 15 years
before I saw him. He gave me a (very awful tasting) tea, and
I've had 2 cold sores altogether in the years since. So, I
would definitely recommend it as worth a try. I don't remember
the name of the clinic, but it was right off Solano Ave. Good
I have suffered with cold sores since I was 11. Now I have a
bottle of acyclovir on hand. The doctor gives me a
prescription so that I can have the pills on me as soon as I
feel the first tingle of a cold sore coming. Then I take 3
pills a day for a week. Most of the time, the cold sore never
completely surfaces, but if it does, it disappears very
quickly. It is a miracle drug as far as I'm concerned!
living with cold sores too
Dear Bummed: Lysine did work for me, but the Dr. told me to
stop using it when I was pregnant. Blistex (the white and red
tube) works well for me in terms of prevention. Make it your
lip balm of choice, and hopefully, you'll be able to stave off
the outbreaks, too.
Unfortunately there is no cure for cold sores/HSV1. It is a
virus, and there are no cures for viruses. You will always have
it in your system. Your best bet for quickly stopping an
outbreak is to take Zovirax (Acyclivor). It is a prescription
medicine. It works wonderfully for me....at the first sign of a
cold sore (tingling, etc), I take 1 or 2, and it never fully
erupts. I have had severe cold sore problems my whole life, and
have been so happy with this miracle medicine. As far as I know,
there are no serious side effects. I wouldn't waste your money
or time on anything else! Good luck!
Monique Does email@example.com
Zorivax is incredibly effective. Use it just as you notice the
sore and it will go away in a day or two. No cure.
There is currently no cure for cold sores. However, outbreaks can be
controlled. My husband has serious problems with them (e.g. outbreaks
all over his face, inside his nose, etc.). He uses acyclovir (Zovirax),
if he takes a dose THE INSTANT he feels that tell-tale tingle, he can
minimize or sometimes even prevent an outbreak. Also, his outbreaks
are sometimes brought on by sun exposure, so if he is out in the sun for
a long time, he will often take some for a 48-hour period, and can
usually prevent outbreaks that way.
There is an over-the-counter product, Abreva, that you apply the
moment you suspect a cold sore is starting, and several times a
day until it's gone. It helps a lot to reduce the severity of a
cold sore and shortens healing time. It costs about $16 a tube;
one tube lasts for several sores.
Lysine sort-of helps.
I've heard that numbing the sore with ice several times a day
reduces the severity and shortens healing time, as part of what
happens is due to inflammation alone.
Finally, one of the big catalysts for cold sores is sunburn, so
use sunscreen on your lips, preferably one with zinc oxide.
I have to admit, I have more to learn about this. But, given
that--I do get cold sores periodically. I have found one thing to
be VERY effective in heading them off at the pass (at the
tingly-spot stage): a tiny bottle I got at some health-food
store, called Cold Sores Begone! Amazing stuff. (Hey, it has a
And if that doesn't do it, applying Campho-Phenique *gel* 4 times
a day makes it dry up and heal very quickly.
Those are the only two products I've found to be effective, period.
I'm trying hard to determine the appropriate measured response to the following situation. About three weeks
ago, I participated in a field trip for my son's kindergarten class. I noticed that one of his little classmates had a
severe outbreak of cold sores on and around her mouth. I was surprised that her parents would send her to
school in this kind of shape and that the teachers hadn't made mention of this to the parents. The thought
passed. Then, a week later, sure enough, my son had cold sores for the first time ever on both sides of his
mouth. I am a pretty cool customer in general, but I was apoplectic. Perhaps it was a coincidence, perhaps not.
I called his teacher to leave a message - couldn't stop in to speak to her in person as I was on my way out of
town on business - and came home to find a flyer sent home from his teacher from the Contra Costa
Department of Public Health outlining various communicable diseases and their treatments. As for my son, the
problem seemed to have cleared itself up. For now. So I'm wondering what to do, and my choices seem to be:
to let it go, to speak to the head of the school, or to let the teacher know how upset I am that this kid was
allowed in school in the first place and am wondering about what kind of hygiene is practiced among these kids.
My son goes to a private school in case that information makes a difference. Thanks for your input.
I think I will ask our pediatrician what she would suggest, especially as she has young school-aged children too.
In the past I've had to ask older children to NOT touch my young son (who had eczema which is highly
susceptible to infection). There definitely needs to be more education about this issue; cold sores are so
common, and therefore often not taken seriously.
I'd be livid if I were in your situation. These kind of things drive me crazy (even parents sending kids to school
with snotty colds get me going). I think I'd speak to to the head of the school and to the teacher. I suppose if
you really wanted to get on the bandwagon you could talk to the Parent Organization and other parents....I'm all
for taking this somewhere and not letting it go. Good luck.
You're right that the little girl with the cold sores should have been treated like she was contagious (she was!).
You certainly should address this with the school. The information missing in your post is what you did with
your child during the time he was contagious and you were away on business. Was he out of school while he
was infectious? Its a fine line we all walk...
I agree with your concern about children coming to school in a health-compromised state. I think there are
many parents who simply send their children to school sick beacuse it is a distruption of their workday, and they
feel they can't do anything about it! Cold-sores are a form a of herpes and are very contageous. I would
definitely have a conversation with both the teacher and the principal to set guidelines or agree on enforcing the
guidelines that already exist. Amazingly, BUSD schools don't have school nurses (there is 1 for the whole
district I hear), so the responsibility of evaluating kids' health falls on the teacher or school secretary.
Considering all the kids with asthma, various disabilities (emotional and otherwise), playground accidents, food
allergies, etc. it is amazing more children don't die at school! I have had many conversations about this issue
over the past couple of years. Public health is a real problem in our schools, it is just not one that gets a lot of
attention until there is a serious emergency, like everything else.
I think that you should call the parents, the teacher and the principal, all of whom are responsible for dealing
with this problem. I had a similar problem when my infant was in daycare. One child came to daycare with
obvious cold sores on his mouth after being out for only one day. He had a note from his doctor saying that he
was okay to be back, and that was sufficient for the teachers to let him back in, despite the fact that he would
be touching other children and mouthing and sharing toys with other children all day long. It would have been
impossible for the other children not to be exposed. I took my child home and never returned to that daycare! I
expressed my concern to the teacher who said that she could only follow the official rule (that says that a note
form a doctor is sufficient) and I wrote a letter to the director who did not even respond. I think that children
who are not old enough to understand and practice proper hygiene should not be allowed to go to
school/daycare with cold sores. I think that there should be much more awareness and concern in
schools/daycare centers about this issue.
It doesn't matter whether it is private or public school. When you first noticed the sick child would have been
the appropriate time to speak up. The child should have been sent to the office immediately and anot allowed
onthe field trip. I know this sounds cruel but your child got sick as a result. The fact that a notice was sent home
later tells me other children got sick as well. I would speak to the principal and let them know that a child's
disappointment at not being allowed on a field trip due to sickness should not be a priority over exposing other
children to that same sickness. At my daughters school, the teacher makes the children use the antibacterial
cleaners or wipes instead of using the sink to wash their hands. It's not as messy and they actually end up getting
sick less often. Just a suggestion to pass along.
You are never going to please all the people all the time. In a child care situation where staff are washing their
hands constantly, removing ''mouthed'' toys immediately and disinfecting them, changing sheets daily, etc...there
is still illness. It's a constant battle. Clearly, admitting a child who has cold sores requires staff to be vigilent. It
has been suggested by several reliable sources that a child only be excluded if he is a biter or drools
uncontrollably as the virus is transmitted through direct contact. To working parents exclusion of their child for
10-14 days is not realistic. We try our very best in this field to provide quality care for young children, but we
can't please everyone.
A conscientious care giver
I've seen several people suggesting use of antibacterial wipes or other antibacterial products as a way of
stopping the spread of disease between children--in this case, cold sores. There is a big misconception that
these antibacterial products are useful. In fact, most childhood illnesses are viral, not bacterial; this includes cold
sores (which are caused by the herpes virus). The main thing antibacterial products do is cause the proliferation
of antibacterial-product-resistant bacteria.
An Anti-antibacterial Mom
this page was last updated: Dec 7, 2009
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2013 Berkeley Parents Network