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.