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Gingivostomatitis In Children


Gingivostomatitis (GS) is a condition that causes painful sores on the lips, tongue, gums, and inside the mouth. GS is caused by the herpes simplex virus. The virus spreads easily through saliva (spit), shared toys, drink cups, or eating utensils. The mouth sores make swallowing painful, so your child may not want to eat or drink. The sores usually heal within 2 weeks. Medicines can help relieve the pain and help your child feel better.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.


Your child is more likely to get cold sores or fever blisters after he recovers from GS. Your child may become dehydrated. The virus can spread to other parts of your child's body. Medicines used to treat GS can lead to nausea, diarrhea, rash, or headache. Medicines can also cause seizures or kidney problems in some children.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.


is a small tube placed in your child's vein that is used to give him medicine or liquids.


  • IV fluid replacement may be needed to treat your child's dehydration.

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.

  • Numbing medicine helps decrease pain so your child can eat or drink more easily. If your child is old enough, he may swish the liquid around his mouth and then spit it into the sink. You also can put the medicine on the mouth sores with a cotton swab. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to give numbing medicine to your child.

  • Antiviral medicine helps treat a viral infection.


Your child may be offered applesauce, gelatin, or frozen treats. Nutrient drinks are given when your child cannot eat.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.