Conditions + Treatments

Cold sores in Children

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Cold sores, also called oral herpes or fever blisters, are small blisters around the mouth (including lips, chin, and cheeks) or in the nostrils. Episodes of the cold sores usually last no longer than two weeks. They are contagious.

  • More than half of people living in the United States have been infected by the time they reach their 20s.
  • There’s no cure; treatment only helps with symptoms.
  • Cold sores are contagious whether or not symptoms are present.
  • They are transmitted through direct contact with an infected person’s contagious area.

How Children’s Hospital Boston approaches cold sores

Children’s has created two Web sites directly aimed at young women and young men to discuss conditions that they may be exposed to cold sores. The mission of these sites ( and is to help teens, their parents, teachers and health care providers improve their understanding of normal health and development, as well as of specific diseases and conditions.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944