Baby Girl Nearly Dies After Contracting Cold Sore Virus
The mother of an eight-week-old baby has warned parents about the dangers of cold sores for babies.
Sophie Lebner from New South Wales wrote a public warning to parents on Facebook, after her daughter Lottie contracted herpes simplex virus (known as the common cold sore virus) and nearly died.
"So here I go with a tear in my eye ... Did you know that if a baby under six months old comes into contact with a cold sore it can be life-threatening?", Lebner wrote.
The post details little Lottie's journey as her parents struggled to determine what was wrong with her.
It started last Sunday, when Lottie's parents noticed she had watery eyes. On Monday, Lottie woke up with a crusty eye, and her parents became concerned she was getting conjunctivitis.
But the next day, Lottie's symptoms had worsened.
"By Tuesday afternoon I noticed two small red pimple-like spots on Lottie's left hand from where she had rubbed her eye, I then considered she might have hand foot and mouth," Sophie wrote.
Sophie phoned a maternal health nurse and was told to take Lottie to emergency immediately.
The family waited for an hour and a half to see a doctor who told them the rash on Lottie's face would disappear in 10 days. When Lebner questioned the doctor about Lottie's eyes, he called a paediatrician, who requested photos.
"Within half an hour the paediatrician arrived at the hospital where he asked me if anyone could have had a cold sore around Lottie," Lebner wrote.
"I said yes. Lottie's dad had had a cold sore that week. He immediately told me about Herpes Simplex Virus and the danger it posed."
While it's rare for a newborn baby to contract cold sores, they are likely to experience severe complications if they do.
"Cold sores pose the highest risk to infants during the first weeks of their lives," medical journal Medical News Today reports.
"The herpes virus can cause severe problems at this stage and may even be fatal if it spreads to the organs, including the eyes, brain, or lungs."
Parents and carers are advised to see a doctor immediately if they suspect a baby has a herpes infection.
Symptoms newborns can experience include poor feeding, small skin blisters and in more serve cases, high fever, seizures and lethargy or appearing to 'go floppy'.
Sophie said Lottie's story was a "real success", and if they hadn't taken her to the hospital and pushed medical professionals about her symptoms, she might have died.
While Lottie's life was saved by the efforts of medical workers and the persistence of her parents, she still faces a long road to recovery.
"For now Lottie is on the mend, still smiling and on a course of 14 days IV antivirals followed by six months of oral antibiotics, weekly paediatric appointments and blood tests," Lebner wrote.
But not all families are as fortunate as Lottie's. In 2014, baby Eloise Lampton died just a few weeks after she was born. She was airlifted from Mackay on Queensland's mid-north coast to Brisbane hospital, where she later died. Her parents were then informed the cold sore virus could have caused her death.
At the time of her daughter's death, Sarah Pugh told the ABC she hoped to raise awareness about the dangers of the cold sore virus in new babies.
"Make sure you are washing your hands and taking care with your personal hygiene, it is a must around little kids," she said.
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