A new mum has issued a warning to all pregnant and postnatal women about the dangers of letting visitors kiss their newborns, after her daughter ended up in hospital.
Claire Henderson noticed something wasn't right with her 3-month-old daughter Brooke, and so took her A&E to get checked over. To her surprise, doctors diagnosed Brooke with oral herpes, also known as coldsores - presumably contracted through the affection of a loved one who had visited and kissed the baby at some point during her first few months of life.
Brooke had to be treated with IV medication and was in hospital for 5 days.
Having never come across the condition before, Claire took to Facebook to raise awareness and prevent other babies suffering the same plight. Sharing an image of her little girl with visible sores around her mouth and cheeks, she wrote:
Image: Facebook/Claire Henderson
'Please share this with every new mum and pregnant woman you know... COLD SORES CAN BE FATAL FOR A BABY. Before 3 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. I know this sounds like I am scaremongering but if my friend had not told me about this my baby girl could have been very seriously ill. I noticed the signs early and got her to A&E, we have now been in hospital on a drip for 3 days and have got another 2 to go. She was VERY lucky, all her tests came back clear. 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% 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.'
Since posting her story on 16th September, Claire's message has been shared more than 35,000 times, with many parents thanking her for raising awareness of a condition that not many new mothers are warned about.
Whilst coldsores may not prove to be a significant health problem for adults, babies, particularly those under the age of 6 weeks, have weaker immune systems, meaning that the herpes virus can cause complications including brain and liver damage.
Symptoms are not always easy to spot, but can include drowsiness, fever, not feeding properly, floppiness and unusual crying.
If you have any concerns about your newborn you should seek medical advice immediately.