There’s nothing worse than having a child who is suffering, and being completely powerless in making the pain go away.
Too many parents go through the agony of watching their child endure unthinkable cancer treatments, terrifying surgeries and countless needles. For Savina French-Bell, it was watching her 2-year-old daughter suffer from a blistering rash. Not only could she do nothing to help her child, but for months, doctors were at a loss to what was even wrong.
The day after Sienna Duffield’s 2nd birthday, Savina noticed a rash on her daughter’s face. It wasn’t just a little pink area. The appearance of the rash on Sienna’s skin was completely alarming.
“It started to look like someone had thrown acid over her face,” Savina said. “It spread from her mouth to her cheeks, and above her eyes.”
Creams and ointments didn’t help, and doctors had no solution. For eight months, Sienna’s face was a bloody mess—covered in itchy bumps and patches, painful blisters, and scabbing from her relentless scratching.
Savina describes the rash as though it was eating the flesh off of Sienna’s face. Her clothes were constantly covered in blood, and the sores around her mouth made eating an absolute nightmare. Eventually she became hospitalized and forced to receive nutrients through an IV.
Things only continued to get worse, and Savina was desperate for an answer that would relieve her baby girl. She back-tracked to everything that had happened leading up to the start of Sienna’s rash.
Eight months into the rash, Savina realized the outbreak came shortly after a relative gave Sienna a kiss. That relative unknowingly had herpes, which was transmitted to the toddler at her birthday party.
Doctors were finally able to diagnose Sienna with Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1).
According to the World Health Organization, 2 in every 3 people under the age of 50 have HSV-1. It’s commonly known as oral herpes and presents itself in the form of cold sores. That means that 3.7 billion people—more than half of the world’s population—is walking around with a (currently) incurable virus.
Different from genital herpes (HSV-2), HSV-1 is not transmitted through sexual activity, but through the swapping of spit in some capacity—like a family member kissing Sienna on the lips—or even just skin-to-skin contact where a carrier sheds skin cells containing the virus, and they come in contact with an opening in another’s skin.
Most people will never experience the symptoms of HSV-1, but when contracted, it can wreck havoc on the receiving host.
Once Savina had discovered the root of the problem, doctors were able to treat Sienna and eliminate the rash completely. Her skin has healed and Savina says her daughter’s face now looks amazing.
Though the infection has not returned, the toddler will always be susceptible to a repeat circumstance.
Sienna’s horrible rash serves as a reminder to everyone—parents and adults alike—to avoid kissing children on the lips.
Cold sores (HSV-1) are contagious and there’s a great chance that you don’t even know you’re a carrier of the virus until it’s too late.
Spread love, not germs. And be mindful of the contact that is made between yourself and others—especially when it comes to fragile and defenseless little children.