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People Magazine Herpes Story


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I saw a story online from People Magazine by Maura Hohman dated Jan 24, 2019, about a 22 year old mother in England who's 1 year old daughter almost died of herpes and they think she got it from a stranger kissing her on the lips.  The doctors said babies immune systems aren't strong enough to fight off the virus and she could have died if her condition had gone untreated much longer.  They said the doctors go to her home to give her daily injections and she has to go to the hospital weekly for tests and treatment.  She will also have her brain scanned for any damage, as a result of the herpes.  As I read the story it felt like it was loaded with misinformation and almost seemed like it was meant to be a scare tactic.  Has anyone else seen it and if so, what are your thoughts?

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I haven’t seen the specific article you’re talking about, but this kind of sensationalism is rife in our news cycle (not only about herpes, of course). And it's only getting worse. Clickbait is sometimes more important than telling the whole truth to keep news outlets in business. My heart goes out to that mother and I'm certainly not minimizing that one case, but situations like this are so rare and stories like these make it seem like herpes is a babykiller, which just is so far from the truth. Stories like this unfortunately only serve to perpetuate the stigma.

And to be clear, passing herpes from mother to newborns does happen (normally when mother is having an active herpes outbreak during childbirth). Just not to the degree and quantity that sensational news stories would have us believe.

Note: This is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis.
I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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The reason the vast majority of people have oral HSV-1, in fact, is because unwitting family members with an active cold sore will kiss fellow family members’ kids, not realizing that it’s even a transmissible thing. 🙄 But also note that the vast majority (99.999999%) of these kids certainly don’t die from it. If that were the case, we would have a global epidemic on our hands. So don’t let these types of stories overwhelm the facts. Of course use common sense to be safe and careful, but don’t let it take you over as paranoia. 

This stuff gets to me so deeply is because I can’t tell you how many parents (mostly mothers) I’ve coached who assume they are going to infect their children so they don’t even give them physical affection anymore. They don’t bathe with them, hug them, cuddle them or snuggle them. They keep a “safe” distance. (Ironically because they love them so damn much!) And that right there absolutely slays my heart. Affection is one of those foundational nutrients that children need and deserve to grow up healthy and feeling loved. And it’s just not okay that people (especially parents) are mislead in this way. It’s safe to snuggle and love and cuddle on your child. Using common sense like avoiding contact during outbreaks will keep your children safe, but we don’t need to be walking around feeling like we need fucking hazmat suits on wrapped in bubble wrap in order to exist. 

Okay, I’m off my soap box now. 😉 

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Note: This is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis.
I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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On 1/26/2019 at 6:13 PM, Lvsandy said:

I saw a facebook post about an infant who died because of herpes exposure, if you have type 1 and you kiss an infant on the lips i feel that person is just evil 

You're assuming the person, 1) Knew they had HSV-1, 2) Was having an outbreak, 3) Understood that a cold sore is HSV-1.  But the fact is, even if you're not having an outbreak you can still pass HSV to someone else.  Infants can die from being exposed to the Flu, yet people aren't condemning this whole anti-inoculation movement.     

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On 1/29/2019 at 7:42 PM, Lvsandy said:

ok I should state that kissing infants on the lips is unnecessary regardless of the HSV status. this infant unfortunately died 

Yet according to the article, they aren't 100% sure that's how this baby got it.  

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