Should you kiss a baby if you have cold sores or mouth ulcers?
You’re a new parent, and you want nothing more than to keep your child happy and healthy. You love kissing baby and sharing all your affection with them, but the thoughts of someone else putting their slobbery germs on your infant makes you cringe. Kissing baby is a no-no to many parents. People can’t resist puckering up to those chubby, little cheeks, but what happens if they have a mouth ulcer?
The problem is that many people do have cold sores, herpes, a canker sore, or a mouth ulcer that can be problematic to a baby’s delicate system. What happens if someone kissing baby has oral issues or is fighting a virus? Is the child in danger?
Kissing Baby Is for Parents Only!
Protecting your child is your job, and you want to keep as many germs as possible away from your infant. Disinfecting wipes can help get rid of some bacteria, but people innocently pass bacterium onto your child without even knowing it. Viruses that an adult immune system can battle a child often cannot. However, transferring germs to a baby can be deadly. Here are a few of the things that can be passed on when kissing baby.
The herpes simplex virus is a condition that causes cold sores on the mouth. Cold sores spread from person to person through the transmission of saliva. Once infected, it can take up to a month for the sore to manifest. Developing this type of infection can be dangerous for your baby, especially if they are less than a month old. Neonatal herpes is a condition that can occur with exposure to the virus, though it’s extremely rare.
The age of the child will determine how they react to contact. Kissing baby can be dangerous because the immune system of a newborn is immature. However, kissing baby doesn’t mean they are going to get cold sores. Newborns rarely get this virus because they are protected from antibodies they received inside the womb. The antibodies shield them for up to six months past their birth. In general, babies don’t get cold sores, so there isn’t much need for you to worry. Consequently, if they do contract the virus, it can be deadly.
In July of 2017, an Iowa mother was in the middle of her wedding ceremony when her young infant had to be rushed to the emergency room. Her baby was just 18 days old and started having a hard time breathing. She quickly developed a fever and other complications. Experts at the hospital concluded the cause of death was the herpes virus and was likely spread by someone kissing baby.
The couple both tested negative for the virus, so they assume it was contracted from someone kissing baby and passing the germs. Within a matter of days, the child’s kidney’s shut down, and she had many seizures. The baby was on life support, and she died within 24 hours of admittance.
Aphthous ulcers, often called canker sores to form on the delicate tissues of the mouth. They begin as a small cut inside the mouth that fills with bacteria and festers. They are quite painful, and foods can aggravate it. It’s not uncommon for a person to suffer from these sores off and on in their lifetime. However, when it comes to kissing baby, no one wants sores near their child.
You will be relieved to know that canker sores are not contagious. So kissing baby with one of these mouth ulcers is not going to make a difference. The canker sore is an immune response created in one’s body and doesn’t present any risks to anyone else. Though painful for the person, kissing baby with a canker sore is harmless.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus
RSV is a viral infection that affects an infant’s lungs and makes it difficult for them to breathe. The virus causes inflammation in the airways and can lead to pneumonia. Though it’s most commonly thought of like a virus that affects children, it has caused death in adults. Due to the nature of the infection, it’s extremely contagious, especially when kissing baby. Doctors often encourage parents to keep newborns away from the public to keep them safe. However, when someone comes into your home kissing baby and loving all over them, it brings all those germs into their safe atmosphere.
Pertussis – Whooping Cough
Kissing baby can pass on the pertussis virus. Infants and newborns contracting whooping cough can have deadly consequences. Vaccinations have nearly wiped out this virus strain, but many are opting to thwart these vaccinations, and it’s bringing it back.
The real problem is that many children won’t receive the first vaccination for DTAP for a few months. Additionally, it takes many doses for the child to develop immunity. Someone kissing baby can be a carrier of the virus, and they won’t even know they are a carrier because of their immunity.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Though it’s not deadly, hand, foot and mouth disease can be quite problematic. Children and adults alike suffer from this infection, which is why kissing baby is not a good idea. An adult may kiss the back of the hand, but the baby will put the hand in their mouth. What starts out as a mouth ulcer can quickly turn into a full-blown rash that covers the face, hands, and feet. Kissing baby on any part of the body should be avoided.
Set Healthy Boundaries For Affection And Your Kids
There is just something so precious about a newborn that makes kissing them inevitable. However, as parents, you must be limit such exposures to keep your kid safe. Kissing baby is not meant to harm the infant, but transferring diseases and infection to an already delicate immune system can be deadly. A good way to break the ice on baby boundaries is to carry sanitizer. Tell everyone that you come in contact with that kissing baby is off limits till they are older.