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Recurrent Fever Blisters (Cold Sores)

Fever blisters are painful blisters that occur on one side of the lip. They’re also called cold sores. Fever blisters are a nuisance, because it takes ten days to go through the process of rupturing, scabbing over, and drying up. Fever blisters are caused by the Herpes Simplex virus. Flare-ups occur following sun burn, fever, friction, or menstrual periods. Teach your teenager these tips on prevention.

• First, always use a lip balm, containing sunscreen to cover the area where the fever blisters occur. This will cut down on fever blisters caused by sunlight.

• Second, if your child is going skiing or to the beach and have had lots of flare-ups in the past, despite careful use of sunscreen, talk to your child’s doctor. Recent research has found that taking an anti-herpes medicine by mouth before such outing can prevent most flare ups.

• Third, once your child gets fever blisters you usually can’t shorten the course, unless you apply an anti-herpes ointment on day one, as soon as you notice any tingle or small bumps.

In summary, if your teenager has fever blisters that flare up several times a year, see your doctor about new anti-herpes medicines.

During Dr. Schmitt’s 20 years as a medical practitioner and researcher, he has published over 100 articles or chapters on pediatric health care, and has been awarded the distinguished C. Anderson Aldrich Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics for outstanding contributions to the field of child development. Schmitt has also authored five books including Your Child’s Health, which won Child Magazine’s first Hall of Fame Award in 1991. Schmitt is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and on staff at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado.


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