“Wash your hands and say your prayers, cause Jesus and germs are everywhere.”
If only it were that simple, right? If there’s one things moms know, it’s that germs and kids go hand in hand.
Unfortunately, in between the never-ending supply of baby wipes and Clorox disinfectant, we sometimes fail to realize that some of the most harmful germs aren’t those that’ll make our kids cough or contract strep throat. They’re the germs that you can’t feel, see or be prepared to fight when they’re coming full-speed at your child.
Samantha Rogers is warning parents everywhere about the dangers of human contact between kids and those around them. May it be a parent, a sister, an aunt or even a grandma, anyone who comes in contact with your child could be a carrier of germs they don’t even know of. But they pose a threat to your baby, and could linger for the rest of their lives.
The Iowa mom took her 1-year-old son, Juliano, to the hospital after he broke out in painful red blisters—something no mother expects to see on their child. They had first started to appear about 10 days ago around his mouth, but quickly spread to his hands, neck and stomach.
Doctors originally believed the sores to be linked to a flu virus or even Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease—which is extremely common in young children, and the parents of said children as it spreads easily.
But after further examination, experts found Juliano to test positive for herpes simplex virus type 1—HSV-1.
Not to be mistaken for genital herpes, HSV-1 is commonly known as oral herpes and presents itself in the form of cold sores.
According to the World Health Organization, 2 in every 3 people under the age of 50 have HSV-1. That means that 3.7 billion people—more than half of the world’s population—is walking around with a (currently) incurable virus. And many don’t even know they have it.
Different from genital herpes (HSV-2), HSV-1 can be transmitted through sexual activity, but can also be contracted through the swapping of spit in some capacity—like a family member kissing Juliano 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.
“It sucks because this is a lifelong problem now,” Samantha told local news. “It’s sad, it breaks my heart and I can’t do anything to help him.”
While Juliano will have it for the rest of his life, HSV-1 is generally pretty harmless. Though they cause discomfort, most sores heal themselves within about two weeks. Still, the virus presents itself differently in each individual who contracts it. Some will experience more frequent cold sore flare-ups, while others may never develop a cold sore again.
However, doctors and experts strongly urge people to never kiss a baby younger than six months of age unless they are your own. Infants have weaker immune systems, and bacterial germs like those of HSV-1 can mean the difference between life and death in a tiny body that’s not equipped to fight.
Samantha doesn’t know who came into contact with her child, but she’s devastated that she hadn’t been more careful about the close contact that others had with her child.
She hopes others will be more aware about the lasting effects germs can have on kids. Samantha urges others to “be cautious,” because you just don’t know who might be carrying a virus they know nothing about.
“It can be anybody: your best friend, your sister, your brother or your mom…. Everybody needs to wash their hands and sanitize. If you see a cold sore or anything on them, just don’t let them come by your baby.”
So maybe great-aunt Bertha’s cheeky lipstick stains aren’t so cute after all.
SHARE Samantha’s warning with other parents, and help spread awareness about this silent attacker and germ-safety.