Going to school with cold sores puts other kids at risk of getting infected.
Cold sores – commonly referred to as fever blisters – are also called Herpes Simplex Virus type-1 (HSV-1). They flare up as the result of this virus, which is passed from one person to another, or from other parts of the body. For example, you may touch your face and infect your eyelids.
Proper prevention is the only way to ensure one does not spread the virus, but there is no foolproof method. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many children catch HSV-1 during childhood, often due to being kissed by ‘unwitting’ adult carriers.
In some cases, staying away from school is the right thing to do. In others, going to school may be the right option. Since prevention is the first step to keeping others safe, in the context of acting responsibly, let’s address when children should stay at home or to go to school.
Reasons to Avoid School with Cold Sores
- Many children feel embarrassed. Younger kids can be teased or bullied, and older students in college may feel stigmatized.
- Some kids stay home when the academic workload is not critical, giving themselves time to recover. Cold sores only last for a couple of weeks, and some people aren’t affected more than once or twice each year.
- Some outbreaks can be painful. The pain that is distracting your son or daughter may only last for a few days – often during the blistering stage – so staying away from school could be the right option.
- Very young children are far more at risk of infection, so you may wish to keep kids with cold sores away from preschool or nursery. Also, other parents may be disapproving of the attendance of toddlers with cold sores.
- And let’s not forget that this is a virus that is passed from one person to another. The last thing that they would want to do is to infect friends, or they’ll have to deal with the same burden as you.
Reasons to Go to School with Fever Blisters
- Once infected with the virus, it’s with you for life. It stays in a dormant state in the ganglion nerve, moving up and down when triggered by various factors (stress, sunlight, lack of sleep, etc.). If you’re unfortunate enough to get cold sores frequently, taking time off school isn’t a practical long-term solution. The situation needs to be managed and preventative techniques employed.
- If you stay off school with cold sores, this behavior is likely to continue throughout your adult life. Will an employer tolerate missed days of work? At some point, you’re going to have to face up to embarrassing situations. Sickness is only acceptable when you’re not capable of focusing properly or performing your job to a sufficient standard. You’re likely to experience heightened discomfort the first time that you get cold sores, known as the primary infection. This may be a legitimate time to take time off school due to cold sores.
- Most people have HSV-1 in their system. Others are also carrying the virus or dealing with the unpleasant symptoms. You’re not alone.
- You can conceal cold sores with invisible patches. Nobody needs to know that you have fever blisters.
- Some treatments reduce the life cycle of cold sores.
Are My Cold Sores Contagious?
This part might seem evident after reading the introduction, but cannot be overstated. Cold sores are highly contagious. However, they are not contagious all the time as they are often dormant. And many people have the virus but are not prone to outbreaks.
HSV-1 is commonly spread during the critical period when an outbreak is occurring. Contact with the liquid in the blister is the fastest way to transfer the virus from one person to another, and one cannot be too careful. One option is to use a cover up, such as Compeed Invisible Cold Sore Patches. These patches are medicated, so it will treat the cold sore and make them less obvious.
While they are most commonly found on or around the lips and mouth, the truth is that they can be spread to anywhere, including the cheeks and chin. One can get HSV-1 on some very prominent areas of the body, some of which can be very dangerous, such as the brain.
Ways That Kids Get Cold Sores at School & College
Close contact is often the cause of spreading cold sores from one person to another.
This includes, but isn’t limited to:
- Kissing and holding hands
- Sharing utensils and beverages
- Touching desks, textbooks, and door handles
- Contact sports (wrestling, basketball, etc.) and playing
Relating to contact sports, it must be noted that during a cold sore outbreak many sufferers feel fatigue and muscle aches/pains, especially during the primary infection.
Often, athletes will power through and make sure they do not let their team down by missing a crucial practice or game, but if you are in the midst of a painful outbreak, it will only be made worse if you infect someone else, and you did not have to.
For this same reason, it is wise not to share drinks, food, or to be intimate with a boyfriend or girlfriend during an outbreak.
This can all be disconcerting, but there are proven ways to find relief from cold sores during these tumultuous periods. You can even reduce the healing time from 2 weeks to 3 days with the Virulite Cold Sore Machine. It’s FDA approved and suitable for children to use.
Easing Cold Sore Pain & Faster Healing
When you need relief from cold sores when at school, there are two ways to approach this challenge. You can try to stave them off if they are caught early enough, or you can numb the area, so they hurt less.
Products like Abreva and Zilactin are good OTC choices when you catch an outbreak before it’s reached the surface. These non-prescription medications have been helpful for some people who wish to stop the cold sore from occurring. They are not perfect, but some people have found relief.
When it is too late to prevent, there are products like HERP-B-GONE cream can help numb the affected area so that the burning, itching, or other painful or discomforting sensations can be kept at bay. This is especially important when you must go to school because of a big test, or because you already have too many absences, and simply can’t risk having another.
Long-Term Cold Sore Treatment That Works
The best long-term treatment for cold sores is clean, healthy living. It might sound like a contradiction to some skeptics given how this virus is often overly associated with sexual conduct, but the truth is that stress increases the chances of an outbreak. The reason for this is because it compromises your immune system, and chronic stress can lead to chronic outbreaks.
There are prescription meds that are effective, as well. They are called Zovirax and Valtrex. These medications will not cure HSV-1 but can reduce the frequency and duration of flare-ups. However, they not without side effects.
There are some potential side-effects, and not all prescription medication is suitable for children who are attending school, or even college. Some people experience changes in behavior, hair loss, and confusion. There is a much longer list of side-effects people have experienced while on Zovirax. As for Valtrex, the potential dangers include skin rashes, joint pain, and vomiting.
Reducing the Number of Outbreaks
There are no fool-proof means by which to reduce having a cold sore. However, there are OTC remedies that can help if you catch them early.
Maintaining cold sores within oneself is only half the battle. Being a carrier of the virus, it is very important to ensure that others are safe, too. This means not sharing drinks at school or utensils. If you have an outbreak or the signs of one coming on, keep your distance from others.
Lastly, when it comes to whether or not to go to school, most times it is perfectly fine. While a very small number of people experience a brief stint of debilitating pain, most people are merely inconvenienced.
And while facing one’s peers with an outbreak can be tough, the truth is that with 1 out of 2 having HSV-1, you are not in a minority. Everyone either has this virus or is close to someone who does. So, knowing that, you should go forth and have no fear. You may feel self-conscious, but when you complete your schooling, you will be able to take that credential with you and carry it forward into the future
Going to school with cold sores is likely to be necessary, just as it would be at a job. This means that children need to recognize the signs and use the Virulite Cold Sore Device as soon as you experience one of the common ‘triggers’ or notice a tingling sensation. This will cut the healing time to about 3 days. A cold sore can also be concealed from staring glances with the medicated Compeed Invisible Cold Sore Patch.
Should I Go to School with a Cold Sore?
It’s sensible to check the policy for cold sores with your child’s school or nursery. The policy may be different for very young children as the virus can be spread more easily. The same applies if you’re concerned about the subject of cold sores and work.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows that they’re infected as there’s up to a 6-day incubation period where there are no visible symptoms.