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On Call: Avoiding Cold Sores

Q. My husband has cold sores that flare up from time to time. Should we be worried about our child catching them?

A.
Yes. Herpes simplex, the virus that causes cold sores, can spread very easily from person to person.

But there are ways to prevent your husband from passing it on to your child (and to you). Have him follow these rules as soon as he feels a cold sore coming on, like when there's tingling near his mouth:

Don't smooch. Tell him to blow kisses to you and your baby instead.

Wash hands often, and don't touch the sores. If the virus gets on his hands, it can spread to other people more easily.

Use separate towels.

Don't share cups or utensils.

Talk to the doctor. Your husband should consider asking his doctor about creams or pills that he can take to shorten his flare-ups. That way, he can get back to kissing and snuggling with your whole family even sooner.

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