6-Month-Old Baby Girl Infected by Herpes Despite Protective Mom’s Kiss Ban

6-Month-Old Baby Girl Infected by Herpes Despite Protective Mom’s Kiss Ban
(Illustration - Shutterstock)

U.K. mother Holly Cruickshanks, age 21, is happy to take any compliments about her beautiful 15-month-old baby Oarlah, yet she definitely won’t let friends or even family kiss her girl. Not after Oarlah contracted the herpes virus at just 6 months old through an unknown person’s smooch, despite Holly’s precautions, and spent days in ICU.

“I didn’t even let my mom kiss her,” Holly said, per The Mirror. “I’d kiss the soles of her feet, and tickled her tummy, but I’d never kiss her face.” While Holly and her partner, Bradley Airlie, 21, were so careful that their behavior was seen as overprotective by others, their worst fears came true when Oarlah got sick.

“We had tried to be so careful, it was devastating,” Holly said. “I couldn’t believe it had happened. Her face looked like it had been pumped up like a balloon.” After Oarlah’s eyes started swelling, her parents were worried that their daughter might lose her sight. Thankfully, with the help of the hospital staff, she managed to pull through with no lasting adverse effects. Now Holly wants others to know just how real the threat of contagion through kissing is for little ones.

When Holly gave birth in November 2018, she was already very cautious about letting others touch and kiss her baby girl. As she explained per The Mirror, “When I was pregnant, I’d seen a Facebook post from a mom whose baby had caught herpes from someone kissing them, and I was horrified.” This put her on notice, and she was extremely vigilant, both with her own contact and that of others.

“I kissed her on the forehead when she was born, but then I banned all her visitors from kissing her,” Holly remembers. “A few of the older moms thought I was just a young, over cautious first time mom, but I didn’t care.

“I didn’t even let my mom kiss her.”

Then one day, Oarlah developed reddish and whitish spots like chicken pox. Rather than being equally distributed all over her body, however, the spots were concentrated on her face and head. What was most worrisome was the spots on her eyes.

“When I saw those, I was filled with horror,” Holly said. “I knew that she could be blinded because of it. We went back to the hospital and they put a yellow dye into her eyes, then hooked up her with drips to get the medication into her faster.”

After some touch-and-go moments, doctors finally managed to get the virus under control within 24 hours. Oarlah went on to make a full recovery with a very small exception: a scar left on her leg.

While the strict kiss ban hadn’t managed to protect Oarlah, that wasn’t going to stop Holly from continuing to be cautious going forward. “I still don’t let anyone kiss Oarlah even now,” the protective mom said. At the hospital, the doctor told the worried parents that the virus could be spread by hands as well from someone who was infected.

Illustration - Shutterstock | <a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/blisters-caused-by-herpes-zoster-hand-100066778">Angel Simon</a>
Illustration - Shutterstock | Angel Simon

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service advises on its website that you “should not kiss a baby if you have a cold sore to reduce the risk of spreading infection.” They add that “[c]old sores and other blisters caused by the herpes virus,” whatever part of the body they might be on, “are at their most contagious when they burst. They remain contagious until completely healed.”

Holly definitely feels that she was proven right about not being too careful in the first few months of her baby’s life. “We feel very lucky that she came through it,” this relieved mom said. “She’s made a full recovery, and is back to giving us big smiles again.”

Illustration - Shutterstock | <a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/happy-young-father-playing-his-newborn-291906539">Christin Lola</a>
Illustration - Shutterstock | Christin Lola