Son Diagnosed with Herpes

Dear Dr. Rob:

My stepson who is only 6 years old was recently diagnosed as having herpes of the skin. He has several health problems including asthma, eczema, and allergies. He does not live with us full time so it is hard to know if he is being kept on his medications and away from the foods he is allergic to. I have a few questions. How can a child this young get herpes? Where do you think he got it from? How can we keep him from having outbreaks? And what can we do to protect ourselves from getting it?
Concerned 2nd Mom

Dr. Rob’s Response:

Dear Concerned 2nd Mom:

You get herpes through contact and you don’t tell me which type of herpes
it is. I will assume perhaps incorrectly, that it is Herpes Type 1. He can be somewhat suppressed on Valtrex, but given  his many medical conditions, I am not sure I would do that at his young age. 

In terms of protection, protecting yourself against it, you can only get it through touching an active lesion and, therefore I would bandage any lesions that he might have on his skin. I would also suggest that he go on Valtrex at his age, perhaps 500 mg twice a day to somewhat reduce it. Sounds like his immune system is not as strong as it should be and I wonder if that has been adequately evaluated. 


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