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Expert Advice

A Kiss Was Almost Fatal for This Newborn

A UK mother is spreading awareness about the dangers of cold sores on newborns.

My baby girl could have been very seriously ill.
A mother in the UK has shared how a simple kiss resulted in her newborn daughter ending up in hospital.
In August this year Claire Henderson gave birth to a baby girl namd Brooke. The excited new mum had lots of friends and family come to meet her daughter, showering the newborn in love and kisses.
However, one of her well-meaning visitors unknowingly passed their own cold sore virus on to baby Brooke when they kissed the newborn. The visitor, who had no visible cold sores at the time, unknowingly transmitted the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) to the newborn.
Days later the new mum noticed that her daughter had sore and swollen lips when she was feeding her one night. Feeling concerned, she took her daughter to hospital where doctors confirmed that Brooke had sores in the back of her throat and on her lips.
The newborn was immediately tested for brain and liver damage and was put on a drip for five days to treat the condition.
The image of Brooke that Claire shared to Facebook showing her cold sores.
“If she had been left it could have easily spread and — worst case — been fatal,” Henderson said.
Dr. Bonnie Maldonado, a professor of paediatric infectious diseases at Stanford University, told BuzzFeed that cases such as Brooke's are very serious.
According to Dr. Maldonado, a baby contracting a cold sore in the first month of their life can lead to “severe neurological disease” and in some cases, death.
Anyone with an active strain of the herpes virus should handle newborns with extreme care as the virus can be fatal if contracted by babies. In rare cases the virus can get into a newborn's bloodstream or go to the brain and cause fatal meningitis.
However, most babies aren’t at risk because they have antibodies from their mothers so fatal incidences are rare.
Claire recognises that her family was “very lucky” as “all her tests came back clear” for her daughter. The new mum has used Facebook to spread awareness to other mothers about the risk of cold sores in babies.
"The moral of the story is DO NOT let anyone kiss your newborns mouth, even if they don't look like they have a cold sore - 85% of the population carry the virus," she said.
Claire’s Facebook post has been shared more than 36,000 times. She is amazed by how far her story has spread and hopes that it will make a difference.
“I really hope that it has raised awareness and can help other parents recognise the signs to act quickly if their baby contracts it, too” she said.

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