Infectious diseases in children – Cold sores (herpes)

Many people know what it feels like and what it looks like; a cold sore. Once you’ve had one, chances are you’ll get another one later. But what causes this cold sore?

Cold sores (herpes)

Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus. Once you carry it, this virus remains in the body and mainly occurs again if there is reduced resistance. Under the influence of this virus, blisters that contain fluid develop on the mouth. They often feel burning and painful and burst open after a few days. Then a crust is formed.

Incubation period

The incubation period is the time between the actual infection and the appearance of the first symptoms. During this time, an infectious disease can already be contagious. With a cold sore, this incubation period is from the formation of the blister to the formation of a scab at this location.


The only symptom is the cold sore itself, i.e. the blister on the mouth. This can be burning and painful, and in some cases it can also be very itchy.

Contamination and consequences

The fluid in the blister of a cold sore is very contagious. The infection occurs through touch, for example kissing or scratching. The complaints last about a week, but can return throughout life.

Exclusion from daycare, playgroup or school

With some infectious diseases, a child is not welcome at a daycare center, playgroup or school for a while because of the high risk of infection. The GGD (Municipal Health Care) has drawn up rules for this. A child with a cold sore does not need to be excluded.

Report to the GGD

For some infectious diseases, a treating physician is obliged to report to the GGD that a child has this infectious disease. The cold sore does not have to be reported to the GGD.

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