Nursing Interventions for Primary Herpetic Gingivostomatitis in Young Children

  • common-skin-fig15_largeAdminister analgesics and topical anesthetics as needed to provide relief especially before meals to encourage food and fluid intake.
  • Monitor hydration status since children are at risk for dehydration. Parents caring for children at home should be informed to report diminishing levels of fluid intake and urination.
  • Encourage mouth care, the use of a very soft bristle toothbrush or disposable foam-tipped toothbrush provides gentle cleaning near ulcerated areas.
  • Wear gloves when coming in contact with mucous membranes, saliva, or lesions.
  • Contact precautions should be instituted for hospitalized children. This includes a private room, use of gloves, and hand washing after glove removal. Gowns may be necessary to protect uniform/clothing when holding a drooling child.
  • Educate parents or caregivers about transmission, whether children are cared for at home or in the hospital. Younger siblings at home or visiting in the hospital are at risk, as they probably have not yet been infected by HSV-1.
  • Avoiding contact with lesions and thorough hand washing should be emphasized. It is important to control thumb or finger sucking during the course of the illness.
  • Inquire whether mothers are breastfeeding. Transmission of HSV from a toddler’s mouth to his mother’s breasts through breastfeeding has been reported.
  • Provide high in protein and vitamins containing diet to promote healing and new tissue growth.
  • Serve frequent small meals or snacks spaced throughout the Day to maintain fluid balance and nutrition.
  • Offer cool, bland, easy-to-swallow foods such as frozen pops, ice cream, mashed potatoes, gelatin, or applesauce to patient to avoid tissue trauma and pain.
  • Explain to parents that HSV-1 (rather than HSV-2) is considered the infecting organism for their child’s condition since they may have concerns about their child having a “herpes infection,” because herpes is so often linked to sexual transmission.
  • Educate parents about recurrent infections, as acyclovir does not eradicate HSV-1 infections.

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