Lucy Kendall learned a very scary lesson the hard way when her son, Oliver Miller, recently fell ill as the result of contracting the herpes simplex 1 virus (HSV-1).
For an adult, it usually just results in unsightly cold sores, which can be combated by ensuring you're taking enough Lysine and keeping your immune system healthy.
But for a newborn baby, contracting herpes, even simplex 1, could be fatal. This is something that Lucy experienced first-hand when her little Oliver fell ill after just being 11 days old. The cause was probably something extremely innocuous.
After the insane magic of childbirth, it's easy to forget just how fragile children are. It's a wonder any of us survived right here and now, there are so many complications that could occur for both the mom and the baby throughout the pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Once you're gone through all of that, it's hard to imagine that anything will be as traumatic or scary for you and your baby, but newborns are in such a fragile state after birth that they need to be cared for and watched over closely to give them time to properly mature. The smallest illness could become a huge problem, even if they seem blissfully unaware of just how helpless they are.
For Oliver, his problems stemmed from something as simple as a touch or kiss from a friend or family member who had herpes simplex 1. Lucy started noticing something was amiss when her baby couldn't drink her milk without recoiling in pain.
Being overly cautious (which is the only level of caution one should have with a newborn baby), Lucy didn't ignore his raised temperature and refusal to drink milk. Instead, she drove Oliver to the hospital, and it was good that she did.
The baby was placed on a heated bed and administered oxygen in addition to being given a feeding tube and several other cannulas to administer necessary fluids that would help keep him alive.
His condition was severe. Lucy said that her son "fought for his life" for 8 days in the hospital's High Dependency Unit before the doctor came into the room and informed her about the cause of her son's sharp decline in health.
He had contracted herpes simplex 1, which left Lucy and her partner, Jaz Miller, "shocked." Her doctor went on to explain just how easily the virus can be passed on to a child.
Here's what needs to happen: Someone with herpes needs to touch their cold sore, and then touch your kid. That's all it takes for the virus to be transferred. It's at its most contagious after the herpes boil bursts, but one can still contract it merely by touch after the fact.
What probably happened was a friend or family member had herpes simplex 1 and gave Lucy's baby a kiss or touched the newborn. The seemingly innocent gesture almost cost Oliver his life.
Thankfully, the little guy recovered, but only after spending some 21 days in the hospital until he was healthy enough to take home and get back to doing everyday baby things. He still needs to be on antibiotics for six months, with regular visits to the hospital to check his health, but he's in a lot better shape than he was before.
Lucy shared photos of her son on Facebook to caution new moms about the dangers of letting people touch their babies. If you're going to hold someone else's baby, avoid giving them smooches on their face, in fact, many experts suggest avoiding skin contact in general.
She also penned this emotional Facebook post about the scary ordeal:
Oliver Jaz Miller was born 3rd of August 2018. When he was 11days old, he slowly stopped drinking milk throughout the night and started up with a temperature. When he was 12 days old, me and my partner rushed him to hospital. Oliver was put onto a heated bed with oxygen. He got a feeding tube put in, along with a long line and a number of cannulas.
After 8 days of watching Oliver fight for his life in High Dependency Unit (HDU) the doctor finally came in and said Oliver had caught neonatal herpes. As you could imagine me and my partner was shocked, we couldn't comprehend what he'd just said.
The doctor began to explain the herpes simplex virus can be passed onto a newborn baby if; a person has a cold sore and kisses the baby or touches the baby after touching the cold sore.
Cold sores are at their most contagious when they burst (rupture). They remain contagious until completely healed.
Oliver spent 21 days in the hospital and we finally get to go home with 6 months of antibiotics and visits to the hospital.
Please respect newborn baby and stay away if you have a cold sore.
We're the lucky ones! A few hours later this could be reading so differently.
KEEP YOUR NEWBORNS SAFE!
But wait, isn't skin-to-skin contact beneficial for newborns? It 100% is, however mothers deliver their antibodies to their babies in the last 3 months of a pregnancy, and because babies share genetic materials with their biological parents, they also share some of the same immunities as well. So skin-to-skin contact between babies and their parents is actually really, really safe and healthy.
The dangers that young babies face from diseases is very real. In 2017, Catherine Hughes called out an anti-vaxxing politician online after her son, Riley, tragically died from whooping cough.
Her post started a huge political discussion in Australia, where other party members and government workers joined the conversation, echoing the importance of vaccinating children and highlighting the fact that the overwhelming majority of medical experts and professionals strongly advise that you get your children vaccinated.
Recently, a nurse at a Houston Children's hospital came under fire for giving out private patient information online when she wrote about a young child who contracted measles. The hospital eventually fired her for the messages she posted to an anti-vaxxing group on Facebook.
But people were really horrified by the mom's confession that she wanted to get a swab of measles from the patient to pass it on to her own 12-year-old son, presumably in an attempt to "naturally" boost his immunity.
Let's keep ourselves and our babies safe, people. A good way to do that is to minimize their exposure to deadly diseases. I'm not saying you should live your life like Bubble Boy, but maybe think twice before you let someone slobber on your newborn.