Stomatitis, or Viral Stomatitis, is a common and contagious infection of the mouth, most common in children between 1 and 2 years of age, and is caused by the oral Herpes virus. The infection begins with a fever (often around 104 degrees Fahrenheit), and is followed by the appearance of ulcers in the mouth and the throat. Because the ulcers are painful, the child may refuse to eat or drink, and in some cases, the child may drool slightly because swallowing saliva is very painful for them. The ulcers that develop on the inside of the cheeks and on the tongue are usually 1 to 5 millimetres in diameter, and have 'a greyish-white base and reddish perimeter', often producing a foul odour from the mouth. Stomatitis does not respond to antibiotic treatment, but the infection normally improves on its own in three to five days, and the ulcers are generally fully healed within 10 days.
What are the symptoms of Stomatitis?
Blisters in the mouth, often on tongue or cheeks
Ulcers in the mouth, often on tongue or cheeks, usually forming after the blisters have popped
Pain in the mouth
Difficulty swallowing (Dysphasia)
Possibility of dehydration after child refuses to eat or drink due to pain
What causes Stomatitis?
Herpes Simplex virus (cold sore virus), which tends to produce the sores towards the front of the mouth, lips and tongue
Herpangina, another herpes-related virus that tends to affect the rear of the mouth and the tonsils (not caused by the Herpes virus but by a Herpes-type bug called Coxsackie Virus)
Stomatitis of hand-foot-mouth syndrome
How does a Doctor test for Stomatitis?
Herpetic Stomatitis is normally diagnosed based on its very typical appearance
Laboratory studies are seldom done
What drugs are used to treat Stomatitis?
Herpetic Stomatitis is seldom treated with drugs, because they are expensive and the condition usually goes away without treatment. When medications are used, the primary drug is Acyclovir
Caring for a Child with Stomatitis
Give acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra, or Panadol) as needed for fever or pain. The dosage should based on the child's weight, rather than age
Give plenty to drink. The child may be more willing to drink after the acetaminophen has relieved the pain, usually 30 to 45 minutes after the dose
Give cold liquids. Popsicles and ice cream will numb the pain. Also, soft foods like applesauce, pudding, soup, and jelly will be least irritating to the ulcers
Avoid citrus-based liquids such as orange juice; carbonated drinks such as soda; salty, spicy, or hot foods as they will irritate the ulcers.
CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR OR EMERGENCY SERVICES IF THE CHILD :
refuses to drink in spite of the suggestions above
is unable to swallow
shows signs of dehydration such as no urination in more than eight hours, excessive sleepiness, and/or dry mouth and lips
is irritable and appears to have significant pain
has a fever that lasts more than 5 days
Stomatitis is highly contagious. To prevent transmission of the infection, carers should wash their hands after contact with the infected child, wash the child's hands often, and have the child use a separate set of eating utensils, cups and plates until fully recovered. These should then be washed in a mild disinfectant solution. The child should not be allowed to socialise (i.e. be sent to school or nursery) until the ulcers and fever are gone for at least 24 hours, and all toys that may have been in the child's mouth should be washed thoroughly.
**There are many forms of Stomatitis; this is the most common. I am currently researching other strains of the infection, and will update this write up when further information and facts are found**