What to do if I kissed my baby with a cold sore

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You’ve just kissed your newborn baby and you have an active cold sore. What should you do? What if you kissed them? What is neonatal herpes and what can happen to a child with herpes simplex virus (HSV)? What are the risks of HSV in babies? This article answers these questions and more!

What should you if you’ve kissed a baby while having an active cold sore?

Cold sores are nothing to do with a cold and are medically known as herpes simplex virus. The younger the baby the more at risk they can be from a serious infection. If you’ve kissed your baby whilst suffering from an active cold sore there are some steps to follow.

If you’re the biological mother and it’s you that’s kissed the baby with a cold sore then it is different if it was someone else who kissed them.

If you’ve had cold sores in the past then you have likely passed anti-bodies on to your baby to protect them from serious risks, this is especially true for mothers who gave birth vaginally. This doesn’t mean your baby isn’t risk free but they’re much less likely to have any serious reactions.

It’s very rare for a baby to catch neonatal herpes from an active cold sore, especially from the mother (because they probably already have it) and their immune system is prepared for it.

If the kiss has just happened then the first course of action is to wash the area where they got kissed with soap and water to clean any trace of infected saliva and for peace of mind. If the kiss was near the eyes, nose and mouth you can try and rinse it with some water but be careful for obvious reasons.

Try and remain calm as you can’t go back in time – all you can do is go about your day and keep an eye on any signs.

If your baby has an active eczema outbreak or the kiss occurred on an active wound then these scenarios can increase the chances of a cold sore outbreak because the saliva from your kiss can go directly into the blood via the wound. It is still a good idea to wash the area with warm water and soap.

Should I take my baby to the doctor if I’ve kissed them with a cold sore?

A mother’s gut instinct can often be correct, as such if you are worried then a visit to a GP should be arranged. Even if you are calm about it, it is advisable to see a medical professional if your baby is 6 months old.

Don’t let cold sores discourage you from kissing your baby as it is a natural way of bonding. If you want to be on the safe side then try and kiss your baby’s head or cheek and away from open wounds, eyes, mouth and nose.

As always, never let anyone touch your baby, especially with a kiss, and never let a strange touch your baby under any circumstances with anything other than washed hands.