A baby has been left fighting for his life after contracting herpes from a kiss at his christening.
Noah Tindle was just four weeks old when his mum, Ashleigh White, noticed his right eye had become swollen blistered and watery.
21-year-old Ashleigh contacted a health visitor for advice, who reassured her it was likely just a blocked tear duct.
Days later Noah’s condition worsened, and Ashleigh spotted blisters around her baby’s eye. She rushed him to doctors, fearing it could be herpes, a sexually transmitted infection which can be passed on through cold sores.
I’d read something on Facebook about another baby having the virus and the blisters looked exactly the same.
What I didn’t realise is that even if you don’t have an active cold sore, you still do carry the virus in your system and saliva, meaning you can never be too careful.
After a series of tests, doctors confirmed Ashleigh was right to be concerned as Noah had contracted the virus, herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1).
Doctors told Ashleigh it was likely the newborn had caught the virus through a kiss from an adult, and she quickly attributed it to a christening five days earlier.
He was only four weeks old. We went to a christening where friends were holding and kissing him – it could have been any of them.
Now nine months old, little Noah spent 10 weeks in hospital recovering from the outbreak of the virus. Despite a relapse in March this year, he’s currently doing well and will be on the antiviral medication until 2020.
The tot is lucky his mum realised what was wrong so early, or the result could’ve been fatal.
‘We managed to catch it before it could enter his bloodstream. He couldn’t open his eyes for days,’ Ashleigh said.
While HSV1, known as the cold sore virus, is harmless to adults, it can be fatal for young children and babies with weaker immune systems.
Noah was taken to Sheffield Children’s Hospital where he had antiviral drugs intravenously, but without prompt intervention the virus could’ve spread to his brain and caused multiple organ failure.
He spent two hours in theatre for what should have been a half hour operation, because he was so tiny.
He was then to be on the prophylactic antiviral for six months.
Unfortunately, he had a re-occurrence in March and again went through the same thing, two weeks of intense antivirals and now he won’t be off of his medication until March, 2020.
We still have a long way to go yet before we’re out of the dark.
Now, Ashleigh is sharing the photos of Noah to raise awareness among adults and parents, so they know the dangers of kissing a child if you’re prone to cold sores.
I just want to make more people aware of the risks and consequences of kissing a baby, especially a newborn when you suffer cold sores,” she said.
It is heartbreaking to see your baby so poorly.
I was lucky enough to catch it in time, and still have my little boy with me today, other parents might not be so lucky.
I would do anything to stop other families going through what we did, so please, please, please don’t kiss newborns.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.