Can a kiss on the lips be fatal for babies?

Along with chocolate, kittens and puppies, babies are some of the sweetest things in the world. But did you know that kissing a newborn on the lips could lead to the death of the newborn?

Nikki Jurcutz, an expert at childcare company ‘Tiny Hearts Education’, has warned of the dangers kissing can pose to babies, according to the British media The sun.

A light kiss on the lips can infect the baby with herpes, which can cause shortness of breath, serious breathing problems and even death. Jurcutz, who runs the site, said her heart broke when she found seven cold sores on her upper lip just six days after giving birth to her son.

The new mother had herpes, which in adults can cause cold sores and ulcers to develop on the lips and genitals. The reason infants are at such high risk is because their immune systems aren’t fully developed, Jurcutz explained.

She said this condition is called neonatal herpes. It’s very rare in the UK, but if it spreads to a baby’s internal organs it can lead to death.

“The virus can be passed to the baby through close contact with an infected person, especially during an outbreak,” she wrote, according to The sun.

How to avoid life-threatening infant hazards

Jurcutz suggested taking several precautions to minimize the risk of babies getting herpes:

Illustrative image of a baby drinking from a bottle. (credit: PEXELS)
  • Don’t kiss your baby’s face.
  • Don’t kiss your baby’s hands.
  • Wear a face mask to cover cold sores when you come into close contact with your baby.
  • Carefully use hand sanitizer before holding the baby.
  • Keep the area around the cold sore moist with ice and lipstick.
  • Do not touch cold sores with your hands.
  • Be careful while breastfeeding. Antibodies to the virus could be transferred to your baby through breast milk.

Jurcutz also urged new parents to warn family members and friends not to kiss the baby on the face when visiting the newborn.

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