It Started With A Kiss
When Sarah Pugh took her fourth child home, the well-seasoned Australian mom had no reason to worry. Soon, a slew of excited family and friends welcomed baby Eloise to the household, and many couldn’t resist the urge to kiss the sweet babe. But when little Eloise started having feeding problems and losing weight, that’s when the worry set in.
After having only been home for a few days, Eloise headed back to the hospital, where her parents’ worst nightmare came true.
The baby girl was put in intensive care on life support, where doctors learned she had a herpes simplex virus (HS-1) — the same virus responsible for cold sores. And she’d gotten this disease from one of those well-intentioned kisses.
“I don’t suffer from cold sores and was never really aware of them, but doctors told me that they think my daughter caught the virus one or two days after birth,” Sarah said.
Tragically, Eloise was unable to be saved. While on the life support machines, the tiny infant developed a staph infection, and her parents said goodbye to her after only 24 days on this Earth.
Though she didn’t live long, Eloise was loved greatly. Since her passing, Sarah has made it her mission to spread the word about the risk cold sores and the herpes simplex virus pose to newborn babies — particularly those under six months who are too young to be vaccinated. It’s the brave mom’s hopes that Eloise’s devastating story will spare other families of the same heartbreak.
And as her warning spreads across the Internet, it may already be saving lives.
About a month after giving birth to her daughter, Brooke, British mom, Claire Henderson, also experienced the typical rush of well-meaning friends and family who wanted to meet the new baby. Then, one night, Claire noticed her baby girl had developed a cold sore and that her tiny lips were swollen.
Thankfully, a friend had shared an article with Claire while she was still pregnant about how dangerous cold sores were to babies. Though none of the visitors had appeared to have a cold sore, Claire recognized the signs in little Brooke as being similar to those she’d read about. Knowing just how serious the situation was, Claire immediately rushed her daughter to the hospital, where she was put on a viral drip for 5 days and is now all better.
Claire’s experience could have easily ended in a tragedy like Sarah’s, had she not previously read up on the signs and dangers of herpes simplex virus.
"If she [Brooke] had been left it could have easily spread and - worst case - been fatal," Claire wrote on Facebook. “I know this sounds like I am scaremongering but if my friend had not told me about this, my baby girl could have been very seriously ill."
And that’s why she has shared her story on Facebook. Like Sarah, Claire hopes that by raising awareness of the hazard of cold sores, other babies will be saved.
"The moral of the story is DO NOT let anyone kiss your newborns mouth, even if they don't look like they have a cold sore- 85% of the population carry the virus. Everyone who I have spoken to had not heard of this before and so I felt it was important to share Brooke's story and raise awareness to stop anyone else going through what we have this week" she says in her Facebook post.
It’s also important for anyone in contact with babies to thoroughly wash their hands, as the herpes virus can be on their fingers.
Thanks to the hard work of Sarah and Claire, this important information is now being circulated. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sarah and her family. Please be sure to share this story so we can continue to raise awareness.
“Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10