'Devastated': Mum warns about dangers of herpes virus after toddler hospitalised

Photo: Facebook/Charlotte Jones
Photo: Facebook/Charlotte Jones 

"Don't kiss babies or toddlers if you have a cold sore."

That's the message a Welsh mother is sharing after her son was hospitalised due to the herpes simplex virus - HSV-1.

Charlotte Jones took to Facebook last week with an update on her son, Ellis's condition, explaining that doctors initially thought he had tonsilitis.

"Devastated is an understatement," Ms Jones writes. "People really don't realise how a kiss or a touch from someone with a cold sore can be life-threatening for a little body."

Ellis had soaring temperatures, "two lots of bloods" numerous medications and no food for over a week while undergoing treatment.

"We've been lucky and Ellis is pulling through it like a boss," Ms Jones continues. " But for a baby with a low immune system the outcome could be very different."

Issuing a plea for awareness, she adds: "Please do not kiss a baby or toddler if you have any symptoms of a cold sore. Sanitise your hands before you touch the child! In a week Ellis's lips have changed so much. He's still got a way to go yet but is on the mend!"

Earlier this year, a UK mother shared a similar warning after her daughter, Kaylah, contracted the herpes virus from a kiss.
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"So I've just seen a post about how parents go over the top about people kissing the child on the lips and that it's perfectly fine?" Ms Thomas wrote on Facebook. "Well I can tell you now that's not the case. I've been there with my Kaylah when someone who's had a cold sore has kissed her on the lips. One minute she was Ok the next she wasn't. Numerous hospital admissions and scares and this was the result -  herpercitum!
"Please please don't kiss children on the lips. We were very lucky we caught it when we did!
 
Tragically, however, not all children recover. 
In 2014, Queensland infant, Eloise Pugh, died aged just 25 days old, also as a result of the common cold sore virus.​

"I don't want parents to be paranoid, but it's something they need to know about," Ms Pugh told Essential Baby at the time.

"The majority of babies don't get it, even if they're exposed to the [cold sore] virus, and I know we had extremely unlucky circumstances. The specialist said he only sees about two cases a year. But it can happen, and parents should know that it's something to be aware of.

"Make sure you wash your hands and take care with hygiene," she said. "I wouldn't want anyone else to go through this.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, HSV is particularly dangerous to babies under six months. "Parents or relatives with cold sores should be especially careful not to kiss babies," the note, adding "their immune systems are not well developed until after about 6 months old."

Signs that a baby may have been infected with HSV include low grade fever and one or more small skin blisters. Symptoms can occur two to 12 days following HSV exposure.

You can find more information here