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Can Cold Sores Be Prevented?

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: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: May 2010

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