New mums take heed: Do not let anyone kiss your newborn!
A simple kiss can be the kiss of death to your baby, when it carries a dangerous virus. Mums, you must read this article now.
When both my sons were babies, they got plenty of kisses and cuddles from friends and family. I've even had total strangers come up to me and ask to carry and cuddle my children. Back then, I didn't think much of all this affection that was showered on them.
But after reading this story, I certainly will not let anyone kiss a child of mine, and I know you won't either.
She didn't know an ugly virus was lurking...
British mum Claire Henderson recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. As it normally happens, she had many visitors come to see her and her newborn Brooke, and as it also commonly happens, one of them kissed her baby.
Now cold sores are common enough among adults and is usually nothing to be worried about. But when a newborn baby gets it, it could be a matter of life or death. The World Health Organisation cautions that "neonatal herpes is a potentially devastating complication, which although rare, is associated with high mortality."
Oral herpes usually manifests as blisters around the lips or near the corner of the mouth, which are prominent enough signs of the disease. According to reports, Ms Henderson said the visitor did not have any visible signs of the disease at the time.
However, medical experts say that the virus can be passed on to others through saliva and surfaces inside or surrounding the mouth.
A mad dash to hospital
Reports say that Ms Henderson noticed Brooke had a cold sore and swollen lips one night while feeding.
Her instincts told her something was not right and she rushed her little girl to the hospital. She was right to do so, according to doctors, because Brooke had sores on the back of her throat and also had to be tested for brain or liver damage.
Thankfully, the little girl got the all clear after being on an anti-viral drip for five days, and is now doing fine with her family, say reports.
A mum's message to other parents
Ms Henderson posted information about her ordeal on her Facebook page as a warning to other mums around the world. Her message is loud and clear:
"COLD SORES CAN BE FATAL FOR A BABY. Before three months old a baby cannot fight the herpes virus. If a baby contracts this it can cause liver and brain damage and lead to death.
The moral of the story is DO NOT let anyone kiss your newborns mouth, even if they don't look like they have a cold sore -- 85 per cent of the population carry the virus. And if someone had a cold sore ask them to stay away until it has gone.
Everyone who I have spoken to had not heard of this before and so I felt it was important to share Brooke's story and raise awareness to stop anyone else going through what we have this week."
Little Brooke was indeed very fortunate to get timely care, but other babies have not had the same luck. You can read baby Eloise Hampton's story here.
And mums, the next time someone asks to kiss your baby, you know what to say.
Have strangers, or even family and friends wanted to kiss your newborn? Did you let them? If you didn't, what did you say to them? Do let us know by posting a comment below.