Details about herpes in children and the symptoms of herpes diseases

Herpes in children has congenital and acquired forms. In addition, congenital infection also has forms. There are only six types of herpes that affect a child most often. With herpes in children, a special approach to treatment is required. Very often, the symptoms of herpes infection in childhood manifest themselves more aggressively than in adults, due to the fact that the body first encounters the virus and children’s herpes passes in an acute form. And in adults, herpes infection usually becomes recurrent. In the article, we will consider the types of herpes in a child, talk about the treatment of viral herpes in children, touch on prevention, transmission routes and possible complications of childhood herpes.


There are over two hundred strains of the herpes virus, but children are most affected by six of them. The first three of the most common of these six are precisely with the defeat of the child’s body, let’s look at them in more detail.

HSV type 1 (herpes simplex virus type 1) – herpes labialis. It affects the skin of different localization. Very often it breaks out in the form of a blistering rash on the lips, fingers, eyes or face. This strain of herpesvirus can appear in different parts of the body, but the most common manifestation is a cold on the lips.

HSV type 2 (herpes simplex virus type 2) is genital herpes. This type of herpes usually affects children’s genitals or areas near the genitals. But in the genital area, HSV type 1 can also appear, and HSV type 2 can give symptoms similar to the first. To understand which of the types of herpes simplex has manifested itself, laboratory diagnostics are required.

Varicella zoster is a type 3 herpes virus. Varicella zoster virus causes chickenpox in childhood. Chickenpox usually occurs in the vast majority of children, and if the child is vaccinated, it is mild. In some cases, this strain can cause herpes zoster in a child if the child has a relapse after having had chickenpox.

Epstein-Barr virus is the 4th type of human herpesvirus. In Epstein-Barr children, it usually causes infectious mononucleosis. More than 50% of children are infected with this herpes strain. Mononucleosis in most children goes away in a mild form, sometimes with practically no symptoms.

Cytomegalovirus is the 5th type of herpes virus. This type of herpesvirus causes CMVI (cytomegalovirus infection). The disease is often asymptomatic and does not cause serious complications. Almost all people are affected by this virus and are its carriers. With serious immunity disorders, the fifth type can lead to complications.

Herpes viruses type 6 – HHV-6A, HHV-6B. The human herpes virus can cause many diseases. In children, it is HHV-6B that actively manifests itself, it causes baby roseola. The disease is quite common in children, but is usually mild.

Of all the strains of the herpes virus described above, the first two, which are combined into one species and called herpes simplex virus, and the chickenpox virus are the most common culprits in the defeat of the child’s body.


The causes of herpes in children and the ways of transmission of the virus do not differ from the methods of entry of viral cells into the adult body, except for intrauterine infection or infection of the child during childbirth. There are five ways to transmit herpesvirus to children:

By airborne droplets. Herpes in children often occurs due to the fact that close people who have a latent form of herpes infection surround the baby. When you sneeze or free herpes cells from the mucous membranes, it can spread through the air.

Household or direct contact. With common use of household items, the virus is transmitted through household items. And also in case of relapses of the disease, direct contact of an infected person with a healthy person provokes the herpes virus to penetrate into a new organism.

Blood transfusion, organ transplantation. If a child undergoes such complex operations as organ transplantation, there is a high probability of transplanting an infected element. More frequent medical procedures are to infect the child through blood transfusion.

Vertical transmission (perinatal). In this case, the virus gets into the baby while the baby is passing through the birth canal. Very often, the herpesvirus type 6 is transmitted in this way.

Transplacental – through the placenta. When a pregnant woman does not have antibodies to any virus in her blood, and becomes infected during pregnancy, the herpes virus can cross the placenta, and the baby is already born infected.

Despite the fact that there are five ways of contracting herpes in children, the cause of the most frequent infection of a child is the mother of the baby. When a small child is cared for by the mother, and she often kisses him, or licks a spoon and a nipple, herpes of an infected mother quickly enters the child’s body. At first, it causes herpetic stomatitis in a child even up to a year, and then begins to recur in different areas of the skin. Relapses usually begin at the age of 5 years, when the immune response is formed. In children from one to three years of age, relapses occur less often. But this applies to HSV.


Let’s look at what herpes looks like in children and general symptoms in viruses that do not give external signs.

Herpes simplex virus

With herpes simplex virus, the symptoms are similar to a cold on the lips, wherever they get enough sleep. This is a herpetic rash that manifests itself as follows:

the temperature may rise;

general malaise of the baby;

tingling, itching, burning sensation in the affected area;

then small bubbles appear;

bubbles burst and form ulcers;

they eventually crust over and heal.

Symptoms of Varicella zoster in a child

The symptoms of chickenpox are known to many. They can take on different general symptoms, the temperature may be elevated, or maybe not. The photo below shows the external manifestation of chickenpox.

Shingles in children is mild or severe. Symptoms include chills, swollen lymph nodes, fever, general malaise, and pain along the nerve where the rash appears. Shingles (herpes zoster) is a neurological and rather painful disease. Below you can see how herpes zoster “girdles” parts of the body along the nerve zone.

Symptoms of herpesviruses type 4 and 5

The Epstein-Barr virus, which is type 4 herpes, causes mononucleosis. This disease is associated with angina, but it is not. Symptoms include redness and sore throat, as with angina, high fever, swollen lymph nodes and internal organs such as the liver and spleen.

Cytomegalovirus, or type 5 herpesvirus, causes cytomegalovirus infection. This infection is especially dangerous for a child infected with it in the womb. With intrauterine infection, the fetus begins to develop with pathologies of certain organs. When children become infected after childbirth, cytomegalovirus practically does not manifest itself in any way.

Symptoms of type 6 herpesvirus in childhood

Roseola infantile, also called “sudden exanthema,” or pseudo-rubella, can dramatically raise your baby’s body temperature and suddenly develop a pink rash. The rash is extensive and protrudes slightly on the surface of the skin. It is very easy to confuse this disease with rubella and other similar diseases, so it is worth going through a clinical diagnosis. The photo shows baby roseola on different parts of the body.


Congenital herpes infection, more correctly called neonatal herpes, provokes one of three forms.

Generalized form. The risk of getting this form of herpes infection for a baby reaches 50%. The following signs are observed – general weakness of the body, high fever, symptoms of pneumonia, various pathologies with the liver and adrenal glands, frequent regurgitation, as well as signs of shortness of breath.

Localized form. Two weeks after giving birth, you can notice a pronounced herpes rash in the baby. This form is characterized by lesions of the skin on different parts of the body, herpetic eruptions on the oral mucosa and ocular forms of herpes infection.

Striking form. It affects the nervous system and causes serious diseases such as encephalitis and meningoencephalitis. May be accompanied by convulsions and cytosis.


Today we will look at how to treat herpes in a child caused by HSV. Since HSV raises the most common questions and it is always herpes simplex that is associated with herpes infection. In addition, both the first and second types of HSV are treated with the same drugs.

When treating herpes infection, attention must be paid to an integrated approach:

the use of antiherpetic drugs;

immunomodulatory drugs;

medicines to relieve general symptoms.

It does not matter whether a herpetic infection is manifested in a child under 3 years old, 2 years old or in a one-year-old baby, the drugs against herpesvirus infection are the same. Special remedies for the treatment of children have not been invented, we are talking specifically about antiherpetic drugs. Therefore, how to treat herpes in children, the treatment regimen and dosage should be prescribed by the doctor.

Let’s look at the technology for treating herpes infection, but without dosages:

Antiviral agents. To suppress herpesvirus, drugs such as Acyclovir, Zovirax and Famvir are used. They can be used as ointments or tablets.

Immunomodulatory agents. For weakened children’s immunity, it is necessary to maintain the protective functions of the body. Of the drugs, one can single out – Viferon, Cycloferon and Immunal.

Dealing with symptoms. Itching and fever are common symptoms. In order to bring down the temperature, antipyretics are used. Antihistamines such as Suprastin or Tavegil are used to relieve itching.

If the child’s eyes are affected with herpes, then a local treatment with three percent Vidarabine or two percent Trifluridine is prescribed.

Possible complications of herpes in children

Herpes virus infection in children can lead to serious complications. Now we are not talking about the consequences of HSV, which provoke diseases such as:

herpetic stomatitis;

herpetic keratitis, conjunctivitis;

or other ophthalmic problems.

And this means serious consequences that affect the improper formation of fetal organs or are caused by, albeit rare, but more aggressive types of herpesvirus. Of these complications, meningoencephalitis and encephalitis can be distinguished, leading to death in half of the cases, even with timely and correct treatment. And also it is worth paying attention to such complications as cerebral palsy, hepatitis and disseminated intravascular coagulation.


Preventive measures depend on the type of herpes virus. For chickenpox, there is a vaccination that is given to almost all children. If we talk about prevention aimed at combating relapses of herpes infection, then, as Dr. Komarovsky advises, special attention should be paid to maintaining the baby’s immune system.

In order not to infect a child, you need to prevent a pregnant woman and do everything so as not to provoke a relapse of the disease. To do this, you also need to maintain a high level of immunity. It is much more dangerous for a pregnant woman to become infected for the first time, since this will bring more problems to the baby.

Summing up, it is worth remembering that the symptoms and treatment of herpes infection in childhood depend on the type of herpesvirus. It is necessary to understand that a herpes infection cannot be cured, so if you are wondering how to cure it forever, know that you can only constantly suppress the virus throughout your life.

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