Though the dangers of babies contracting HSV-1 have been circulating the Internet over the past couple of years, South Yorkshire mom Ashleigh White insists that more education is needed after her baby boy almost died from a deadly kiss.
Her son Noah was only 4 weeks old when Ashleigh noticed his right eye was swollen and watering. Noah’s normal temperature and eating patterns initially put the 21-year-old mother’s mind at ease that perhaps this was a minor infection.
However, only a few days later, she spotted blisters forming around her baby’s eye and read an online warning about an infant with similar symptoms who had contracted herpes.
Ashleigh was immediately alarmed and had a bad gut feeling that Noah, too, was carrying the virus.
‘What I didn’t realize, is that even if you don’t have an active cold sore, you still do carry the virus in your system and saliva, meaning you can never be too careful,” said the South Yorkshire mother.
As her instincts warned, Noah’s test results came back a few days later testing positive for HSV-1, or the “cold sore virus.”
While rarely a threat to adults, this seemingly harmless virus can kill an infant, as their immune systems have not been built up enough to handle it yet.
“The virus was on his eyelid, but we managed to catch it before it could enter the bloodstream, but he couldn’t open his eyes for days,” said Ashleigh.
Doctors informed her that Noah likely caught HSV-1 at his christening where there were countless adults kissing his face.
“We went to a christening where friends were holding and kissing him — it could have been any of them,” said Ashleigh. “I just want to make more people aware of the risks and consequences of kissing a baby, especially a newborn when you suffer from cold sores as I know how heartbreaking it can be seeing your baby so poorly. Hardly anyone had seen the photos of Noah when he contracted the virus until I posted the pictures online but I thought it was important to spread more awareness.”