Can a kiss on the lips be fatal for babies?

Science and Health

Along with chocolate, kittens and puppies, babies are among the sweetest things. But did you know that kissing a newborn baby on the lips can be fatal for the newborn? Nikki Yurkutz, an expert from the infant care company “Tiny Hearts Education,” warned in the British Sun about the dangers of kissing.

According to her, a light kiss on the lips can lead to the infection of the baby with the herpes virus, which can cause shortness of breath, severe breathing problems and even death. Yurkutz, who runs the site, said her heart broke when she discovered seven cold sores on her upper lip, just six days after giving birth to her son.

The new mother carried the herpes virus, which in adults can cause cold sores and ulcers on the lips and genitals. The reason infants are at such high risk is because their immune systems are not fully developed, Yurkutz explained.

“It’s called neonatal herpes, it’s very rare in the UK but can lead to devastating death if the virus spreads to the baby’s organs,” she said, adding: “The virus can be passed to the baby through close contact with an infected person, especially during an outbreak.”

How to avoid potentially fatal risks to infants

Yurkutz suggested taking several precautions to minimize the risk of tender babies getting the virus:

Illustrative image of a baby drinking from a bottle. (credit: PEXELS)

Do not kiss the baby on the face.

Do not kiss the baby on the hands.

Cover the cold sore when you come in close contact with the baby by wearing a mask.

Thoroughly use hand sanitizer before holding the baby.

Keep the area around the cold sore moist by applying ice and using lipstick.

Do not touch the cold sores with your hands.

If you are breastfeeding, know that the antibodies to the virus may pass to the baby through breast milk.

Yurkutz also urged new parents to warn family members and friends who come to visit the baby against kissing him on the face.