Cold sores (herpes simplex)

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Information on cold sores (herpes simplex): what they are, common signs and symptoms, causes, complications and how to treat.

Key points

  • Cold sores are very common and contagious.
  • The first episode is usually the most severe, but cold sores can recur.
  • Your child may require an antiviral medication.
Last updated: January 29th 2024