For most people, cold sores aren’t a big deal. Cold sores, caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), are nothing more than a minor annoyance for those of us who have a healthy immune system.
But for babies under the age of one month and those with compromised immune systems, the virus can have devastating effects.
Such was the case for Nicole and Shane Sifrit whose daughter, Mariana, passed away on July 18th due to a brain infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. She was only 18 days old.
Mariana was born on July 1st happy and healthy, but one week later her parents noticed she was not eating and would not wake up. They rushed her to the hospital where they learned their daughter had contracted meningitis HSV-1. Within hours her organs shut down and she stopped breathing.
Neither of the parents tested positive for the virus, so they believe the virus was passed on through a kiss.
In 2012, an estimated 3.7 billion people under the age of 50, or 67% of the population, had HSV-1 infection. While the greatest risk of transmission is when a cold sore has developed, the virus can still be passed on from oral or skin surfaces that appear normal and no symptoms are present.
This is why we need to stop kissing newborn babies. Period.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Back in 2016, Amy Stinton shared shocking photos of her son Oliver who developed herpes after being kissed by someone with a cold sore.
We get it. Babies are beautiful and it’s nearly impossible to refrain from breathing in that amazing newborn smell and kissing those sweet cheeks or nibbling on toes. Who can resist blowing raspberries on those little bellies.
But do it. Resist. Because even if you aren’t showing symptoms, you could still pass on the virus and the consequences are beyond devastating.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Sifrit family.