Babies are absolutely adorable. At gatherings with friends and family, they easily grab the spotlight with their chubby cheeks, big eyes and round button noses.
If you’re the parent of said baby, you probably take great care to make sure they’re cleaned after being handled by a few people.
And with the help of natural disinfecting wipes, you can do a pretty good job of getting rid of many common bacteria.
But when it comes to one particular type of bacteria, no amount of wiping will help. It can be deadly and it’s passed onto your baby through seemingly innocent action.
When Claire Henderson’s daughter Brooke was born, many people visited her in the hospital. One visitor was unknowingly carrying the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1).
The virus is incredibly common. 67% of people around the world are infected with it. Many, like Brooke’s visitor, do not even know they have it.
An adult’s immune system can battle the virus just fine and so exposure to it through kissing is not a huge concern. At worst, it will result in a cold sore.
But for a baby? As Claire Henderson learned, it can be deadly.
One day, while feeding, Claire noticed sores had begun to pop up around Brooke’s mouth. At the hospital, doctors told her that if babies are exposed to HSV-1 within their first 3 months of life, it can spread throughout the body and result in severe brain and liver damage.
Luckily, Brooke’s condition was treatable.
In 2008, Charlotte Raveney and her husband Mohamed lost their 11-day-old baby Mira to HSV-1 that had been passed via a kiss. Mira’s body had not yet developed antibodies that could fight HSV-1.
Similarly, in 2013, two-month-old Kaiden McCormick died of HSV-1 that had been passed to him by his father through a kiss.
How to Protect Your Baby from HSV-1
Most people are not aware of just how severely kissing a baby can harm him or her. Now that you know, do not kiss a newborn on the face even if you don’t have any signs of HSV-1.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the following symptoms in your baby, especially after they’ve been handled.
- Burning around the mouth or lips
- Cold sores on baby’s face
If you notice those signs, take your baby to the hospital immediately. Doctors will know how to treat the condition and keep your baby safe – if you get to them in time.