Parents can kiss their newborn babies

Don't kiss a baby with a cold sore!


Herpes viruses can be dangerous for infants because their immune systems are not yet fully developed. Therefore, parents and people who are entrusted with the care of the infant should wear a face mask and refrain from kissing if they suffer from cold sores.

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Those affected should also be particularly careful when dealing with immunocompromised children. “If the nipples are affected, the mother unfortunately has to refrain from breastfeeding. In any case, people with cold sores - regardless of whether the lesions are on the lips or in the mouth or on other skin areas - should not touch them and pay attention to special hygiene. That means they should wash and disinfect their hands frequently and carefully, ”advises Dr. Monika Niehaus, pediatrician and member of the expert committee of the professional association of paediatricians (BVKJ).

In newborns, the virus can quickly create a life-threatening situation by attacking the central nervous system, liver, lungs, skin, and eyes. Permanent brain damage can also remain after infection. 85% of the cases in which herpes viruses are transmitted from mother to child occur during childbirth, when the virus is shed from the genital tract (genital herpes). That is why doctors recommend a caesarean section if the genital herpes is active. The unborn baby is rarely infected via the placenta or amniotic fluid (5%). About three quarters of newborn babies who develop herpes infection are unaware that mothers are carriers. Postpartum infections account for around 10% of cases. They occur through direct contact between the newborn and infected people, mainly from the mother through kissing, usually through lip vesicles or vesicles on the skin.

If encephalitis develops, herpes encephalitis, the symptoms may initially resemble flu. The infant is pale, appears unresponsive or restless, is shaky or cramped. A fever can also occur. The typical cold sore occurs in just over half of infected babies (60%). Sick infants need to be treated quickly with antiviral drugs and intensive medical care. Every day that goes by without treatment increases the risk of death. Children younger than two weeks are particularly at risk.

Source: J Dtsch Dermatol Ges., J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther.

This is a press release from the professional association of paediatricians e.V. This press release or parts of the article can be reprinted from the following source: In the case of publication in online media, the source must be linked to this home page or to a subpage of the BVKJ parent portal. Photos and images may not be used as a matter of principle.