Mother's Graphic Photo Shows The Scary Side Of Letting Friends Kiss Your Baby

Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
When you see a sweet little adorable baby, of course you just want to gobble 'em up with kisses. But, as new mom Claire Henderson learned, smooches with cold sores can spell trouble for an infant.

You probably know that the vast majority of adults has some version of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). About 70% of adults in the U.S. have HSV-1, the form of the virus that is more commonly associated with herpes on your mouth (commonly referred to as cold sores). And approximately one in six of us has HSV-2, the form of the virus that is more commonly associated with genital herpes. Although they can be painful, annoying, and definitely contagious, we have effective ways of minimizing and preventing outbreaks.

Related: What I Decided To Do When He Told Me He Had Genital Herpes

But, as Henderson discovered, the story can be very different for infants. Most of us get the herpes virus in our childhoods, but it's relatively rare in infants (somewhere around 10 cases per 100,000 births). About 90% of those neonatal herpes cases are caused by HSV-2 contracted in the birth canal, but Claire's baby, Brooke, got a kiss on the mouth and began developing the symptoms of HSV.

Related: This Experimental Vaccine Could Mean The End Of Herpes

Because an infant's immune system isn't as developed as our adults ones are, what's just routine annoyance for us can be extremely serious (in rare cases, fatal) for them as the virus may spread to the liver, lungs, and brain.

Thankfully, Claire noticed the signs early. Brooke will have to spend five days in the hospital, but she was still "very lucky," says Claire in a Facebook post warning other new moms, which has now been shared over 35,000 times.

Related: What It REALLY Means To Have Herpes

So, although it may be hard to resist, kissing that little cherub on the mouth is not a good idea if you've got HSV. If you can wait until that baby is a few months older, his or her tiny immune system will be better able to handle your totally well-intentioned onslaught of adoration.
Advertisement
Image: Via Facebook.
Advertisement

More from Trends

You probably already know that Donald Trump has a record of making sexist comments. But a new ad from Hillary Clinton's campaign powerfully highlights ...
When photographer Roger Kisby shot the Adult Video News Awards for the first time last year, he wasn't sure what to expect. Once there, he was drawn to the...
This article was originally published on April 8, 2016. Photographer Marcos Alberti's photo project, 3 Glasses Later, could be considered a probing ...
In Status: Stressed, Refinery29 is teaming up with Secret, the expert in stress sweat, to have an honest, passionate conversation about the role of stress...
It was the breakup heard 'round the world: On Tuesday, we learned that Brangelina was officially no more. Then, as we were all recovering from the news, ...
Many of us can probably remember being told at some point during grade school that the pesky little boy who won't stop pulling on our pigtails or throwing ...
It's hard enough to remember to smile every once in a while, let alone stay positive when someone tells you to "go fuck yourself." But that's exactly ...
(Paid Content) In this age of label-aversion, hookup apps, and social-media flirtation (nothing says romance like a DM, right?), few would disagree that ...
Last Sunday, new mother Anna Young posted a photo of herself, taken during a half-marathon, to the breast-feeding advocacy Facebook group, Occupy ...
By now you've probably read those viral texts exchanged between a mother and her daughter while in pursuit of tampons. (And if you haven't, you won't ...
When Delaney Robinson first entered the University of North Carolina as a freshman a little over a year ago, she was looking forward to making new ...
Everyone has a unique story from when they first learned about Their Changing Bodies, but girls of the future might be able to say this: I learned about ...
One California woman's emotional birth video is going viral after being posted online earlier this month. Audra Lynn gave birth to her second child — and ...
After the news that transgender actress and activist Alexis Arquette died Sunday morning at age 47, her family has come together to release a touching ...