A mother has warned parents not to let anyone kiss their newborn on the mouth after her baby daughter was hospitalised with potentially fatal cold sores.
Doncaster-based Claire Henderson’s little girl Brooke had to spend five days in hospital with horrific blisters that could have caused liver and brain damage.
Ms Henderson, who is engaged to partner Steven Perkins, has since sent a heartfelt Facebook message to inform other mothers of the dangers.
Worried Claire took to social media and wrote: ‘Please share this with every new mum and pregnant woman you know… COLD SORES CAN BE FATAL FOR A BABY.
‘Before 3 months old a baby cannot fight the herpes virus. If a baby contracts this it can cause liver and brain damage and lead to death.’
COLD SORE VIRUS MOST LETHAL IN FIRST SIX WEEKS OF LIFE
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which is carried by most people, but usually lies dormant.
It can be caught through physical contact, such as kissing or even breastfeeding.
While most adults carry the virus without any health risks, it can be fatal for babies because of their poor immunity.
Those in the first six weeks of life are most at risk.
While the virus can be notoriously hard to detect, early signs include a baby not feeding, drowsiness, fever, floppiness and unusual crying.
The Royal College of Midwives recommends that anyone with a cold sore or symptoms of an impending outbreak should avoid kissing a baby as HSV is most virulent when the skin is broken.
Fortunately for Claire she noticed the signs early and rushed her daughter straight to A&E.
Baby Brooke had to spend three days on a drip and two further days under observation.
Claire added: ‘She was VERY lucky, all her tests came back clear. 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.’
Over 85 per cent of the population carry the herpes virus.
Claire said many of her friends had ‘not heard of this before’ and she feels it important to raise awareness.
One of Claire’s followers commented: ‘Well said Claire people do need to be aware of this as I didn’t know this could happen to babies.
‘Just so glad you was on the ball & went with your instincts and got our Brooke to hospital straight away.’
While another added: ‘So pleased she is recovering well. We’ll done for spotting the signs for something that could have had a very different outcome. She’s a little fighter bless her,’
NHS Choices state cold sores are ‘small blisters that develop on the lips or around the mouth’.
They are caused by the herpes simplex virus and ‘usually clear up without treatment within seven to 10 days’.
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They often start with a tingling, itching or burning sensation around your mouth. Small fluid-filled sores will then appear, most commonly on the edges of your lower lip.
While a mild condition in adults, they can cause liver and brain damage in children under six weeks old and even lead to death.