Introducing your newborn baby is an exciting experience. Having friends and family over to welcome the newest member is usually a happy and joyous occasion for every parent.
Typically, your house is filled with guests who come bearing gifts for the little one and take turns in holding the baby.
Parents usually caution guests to maintain hygiene by washing their hands and avoiding holding the baby if they have flu.
In 2018 Dr Lerato Masemola in South Africa cautioned parents against letting visitors kiss their newborn.
She narrated her harrowing account on Twitter about how a relative infected her then 6-month-old daughter with herpes after kissing her.
“Human beings are disgusting... my daughter has herpes on her lips. Got it at 6 months. I can’t get over it. Don’t even get me started about the emotional trauma she gets from the pain and unsightly blisters when it flares up and all the money I’ve spent to keep it suppressed to date’’
Speaking with DRUM, the doctor defines herpes as a viral infection that is incurable and is able to infect any part of the body where there are mucous membranes; eyes, nose, lips and is common around the mouth area and in the genital area.
“Parents must be firm with people. You cannot allow or be shy to tell people not to kiss your children. Babies are born with weak immune systems which they build up as they grow, which means that they cannot fight off germs up until a certain age,” she explains.
Although rare, other parents on TikTok shared stories of their babies contracting herpes via kisses. One user detailed how her newborn got herpes on the mouth after someone with a cold sore kissed her baby.
“My child got herpes as a newborn because someone with a cold sore decided to kiss her. So please if you have mouth sores please do not kiss a baby”
Speaking to Standard Entertainment, Dr Goody Gor explained that the herpes simplex virus (HSV) is categorized into 2 types; HSV-1 and HSV-2.
HSV-1 is mainly transmitted by oral-to-oral contact, causing oral herpes (including symptoms known as cold sores), but it can also lead to genital herpes.
HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted infection that causes genital herpes.
“Mouths are very dirty and are full of bacteria so you shouldn’t let people kiss your baby because you don’t know their sexual history.
“If the baby contracts herpes it’s for life and you can’t get rid of it so you have to be very careful with your newborn baby,” she said.