According to The Sun, the newborn Noah Tindle was four weeks old when his mother, Ashleigh White, noticed swelling and blistering in his left eye.
She told the news outlet that an initial medical consultation in September of last year suggested it may have been a benign tear-duct blockage. But after the swelling and discoloration got worse, she rushed her baby to a clinic for a second opinion.
Little Noah was then referred to Barnsley Hospital, where doctors tested the baby and confirmed he had become infected with the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1).
“I’d read something on Facebook about another baby having the virus and the blisters looked exactly the same,” she told The Sun.
“What I didn’t realize is that even if you don’t have an active cold sore, you still do carry the virus in your system and saliva, meaning you can never be too careful.”
She said doctors told her Noah had likely contracted the virus from a kiss.
“We went to a christening where friends were holding and kissing him—it could have been any of them,” she told the publication.
Noah spent over two months in the hospital receiving treatment for the infection. While the herpes virus is benign for healthy adults, babies can suffer complications—including death.
“We managed to catch it before it could enter his bloodstream,” the relieved mother told The Sun. “He couldn’t open his eyes for days.”
She said Noah received intense anti-viral drugs intravenously for two weeks, followed by prophylactic medication for another six months. He suffered a relapse in March and had to receive another round of intense medication.
“We still have a long way to go yet before we’re out of the dark,” his mother said.
The mother said, “I just want to make more people aware of the risks and consequences of kissing a baby, especially a newborn when you suffer cold sores.”
She added, “Please, please, please don’t kiss newborns.”
The Herpes Simplex Virus
The herpes simplex virus is a contagious virus spread through direct interpersonal contact.
According to Healthline, around 67 percent of people aged 49 and younger are carriers of the virus, though they may never experience an outbreak.
Babies who catch the herpes virus can develop severe complications, according to Healthline, including blindness, brain damage, and death.
People who catch the herpes virus will have it for the rest of their lives and there is no cure. Treatment focuses on alleviating some of the symptoms, which can include open sores.
Baby Spends 4 Days in Hospital After Being Kissed by a Family Member
In related news, a baby in the United Kingdom spent four days in the hospital after a family member kissed her on the lips. The family member apparently had a cold sore, but the child developed a painful rash as a result.
Kaylah Merritt, of County Durham, is said to have nearly died after a purple rash covered the child’s body.
According to the Daily Mail, Kaylah was diagnosed with eczema herpeticum, which is caused by the herpes simplex virus, which can cause cold sores.
"I instantly knew we had to take her to the hospital."
Brogan Thomas and Connor Merritt from Darlington rushed Kaylah to the hospital. She needed two rounds of antibiotics, doctors told the Mail.
Her parents said the unnamed person who kissed the child had a cold sore. They issued a warning after the scare.
“When the doctors told me how dangerous it was I cried and cried thinking how I could have lost her due to a silly kiss,” Thomas said. “Connor was shocked and couldn’t believe all this was down to a kiss too.”
She added, “If we hadn’t gone to the hospital quickly, it could have been very dangerous, we could have lost her.”
'We couldn't believe all this was all down to a kiss'
“It was an awful nightmare, there were purple rashes everywhere and Kaylah was sobbing her heart out.”
She added, “The doctors told us that someone with a cold sore must have kissed her on the lips and because babies’ immune systems are not strong enough, she developed the rash.”
Thomas has shared her story as a warning to other parents of young children.
“I was so relieved when Kaylah was out of danger,” she said before adding, “I just want other parents to know, you don’t have to be a physically ill to harm a baby—you can just be a carrier of the virus and still affect them.”
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.