Baby Contracts Herpes After Being Kissed By Family Friend — With A Cold Sore

September 27, 2016  |  

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Shutterstock

If you’re one of those people who assume parents are being overprotective when they ask you not to put your lips on their child (we understand that their cuteness, particularly those puffy little cheeks, can make that difficult), here’s the evidence you need to refrain from puckering up for a baby, including your own.

Earlier this month, Portsmouth woman Amy Stinton shared some very alarming images of her son, Oliver, on Facebook. His body was covered in sores after the infant was kissed by someone with a cold sore. Those sores ended up being herpes.

According to Stinton, Oliver had to be on an IV drip for four days. She said that “he’s still very sore, but better.”

Herpes can be passed on when the herpes simplex virus is present on the surface of the skin, as stated by Medical News Today. The moist skin surrounding the mouth, anus and genitals are the easiest areas on the body to infect.

According to the World Health Organization, a whopping 67 percent of adults under 50 have the type of virus the person who infected Oliver had: herpes simplex 1. They’re talking about 3.7 billion people. It only appears on your mouth through cold sores, as opposed to genital herpes, otherwise known as herpes simplex virus 2.  In estimates done in 2012, 178 million women and 142 million men had the herpes simplex 1 virus.

There is no cure for herpes. And even though most adults can fare fine and bypass complications from the virus (aside from feeling socially stigmatized or a psychological distress — according to WHO), herpes can be fatal for a young child. A two-month-old baby died after reportedly contracting herpes from her father, who had contracted the virus years before meeting his wife and having a child.

And while many people, medical professionals included, see it as an uncommon medical complication for a child, ABC noted back in 2008 that at the time, 1,500 to 2,200 babies under a month old were getting herpes in the U.S. each year, with 85 percent of cases ending up fatal. It’s also a problem abroad. A woman named Claire Henderson from the U.K. shared a similarly scary story to Stinton’s after her infant daughter contracted herpes from a kiss last year:

Cold sore or not, everyone needs to be careful when it comes to kissing babies. With so many people having the herpes simplex 1 virus, and according to the CDC, a large number of those infected not knowing it, keep your lips to yourself. Pass the word to your friends, aunts, your mother, Peanut and ‘nem — pretty much everybody.

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