Herpes | Did you have a cold sore and kiss your child?


Pregnant couple

Be careful not to infect your baby
with herpes

Children can contract herpes at the time of birth.

Actually, if the mother experiences her primary or first outbreak while she is pregnant, it can cause serious effects to the fetus, even birth defects. It is possible for the virus to cross the placenta and infect the fetus causing CNS (central nervous system) disease, neonatal herpes, encephalitis, or even death. The treatment is usually with intravenous, high dose (60mg/kg/d) acyclovir for 14-21 days.

Some newborns contract herpes if they are born vaginally, especially if there is lesion present. Always tell your doctor if you suspect there is even a possibility you may have genital herpes even as you plan on getting pregnant. You can still have a healthy baby, and actually 25% of mothers have herpes. You may even be able to have a normal delivery, but if there is an outbreak at the time of delivery, the doctor may suggest a cesarean section, C-section, if there is any threat to the baby. If your baby has symptoms like blisters, irritability, fever, loss of appetite, and malaise, take your baby to your doctor immediately.

Pregnant Women and Men with herpes

Men with herpes must be vigilant about their safe sex practices with an uninfected mother-to-be! It could pose a serious threat to the baby if the mother contracts herpes, especially in the last few weeks.

Picture of Boy with oral herpes

Young boy has oral herpes. Children can contract herpes from a loved one with a single kiss, if the loved one has a cold sore.

Children’s Oral Herpes Infection

One of the first herpes infections a child will experience is usually primary herpetic gingivostomatitis. Infants and toddlers with herpetic gingivostomatitis, can develop a fever with painful blisters around their mouths and lips, on their tongues, and on the roof of the mouths, which usually is not diagnosed and goes untreated. Infants can contract herpes from a loved one with a single kiss, if the loved one has a cold sore (5-8%) or is shedding the virus without an obvious lesion. An undeveloped immune system is susceptible to the herpes virus.

Children can also contract herpes at day care centers or areas where there are many children and care takers having direct contact and toys that children can put in their mouths.

Photo of eye herpes

Young boy has herpes around his eyes


When newborns contract herpes, they can get very sick because their ability to fight off virus is not developed yet. This can result in throat and eye infections, damage to their central nervous system, mental retardation, or even death. Do not let anyone with a cold sore kiss your baby! The herpes sores are very contagious. As children get older, their immune system is better equipped to fight the herpes virus. Beyond the neonatal period, most primary HSV-1 infections occur in infancy and childhood and are transmitted primarily by contact with infected saliva. Over 25% of children in the US have serologic evidence of herpes simplex virus disease by 5 years old.

Canker Sores

Oral herpes infections should not be confused with canker sores (aphthous ulcers). Canker sores are not caused by the herpes virus.

Circumcision | Infant boys contract Herpes by Mohel

Read about the ultra Orthodox procedure where babies contracted herpes simplex. Go to Herpes News!

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