A mother is warning others of the dangers of cold sores after her child came down with a case of herpes.
Samantha Rodgers, from Des Moines in Iowa, US, has shared her own experience of how her baby Juliano developed lots of cold sores, but doctors repeatedly dismissed her concerns.
She was told he probably just had the flu or a serious case of hand, foot and mouth disease, but Juliano’s symptoms kept getting worse and he was in terrible pain.
“His sores were growing onto his hands and his neck and his stomach,” Rodgers told .
Eventually, Juliano was taken to a children’s hospital, and after being tested, his mother discovered what he real problem was.
“They swabbed his mouth and tested it and it came back as he has herpes,” she said.
It turns out someone with the virus must have inadvertently touched or kissed Juliano.
Baby Juliano (WRIC/Samantha Rodgers)
“Pretty much this person gave my baby herpes not intentionally,” Rodgers said, adding that she doesn’t know who passed herpes on to Juliano.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and usually clear up between seven and 10 days, according to the NHS. They’re highly contagious though, and can spread via saliva, skin and touch.
Samantha Rodgers with Juliano
With no known cure for herpes, most people have the virus their whole lives, although it remains inactive most of the time.
“It sucks because this is a life-long problem now every time he runs a fever, every time he’s sick he can have an outbreak, I don’t know how to handle this,” Rodgers said. “I am trying to do the best. It’s sad. It breaks my heart and I can’t do anything to help him.”
Juliano will soon be leaving hospital to finish his treatment at home, where Rodgers will then try and get him to eat something for the first time since last week.
“All I can say is just be cautious, it can be anybody – your best friend, your sister, your brother, or your mom, it can be anybody,” she said.
“Everybody needs to wash their hands, sanitise if you see a cold sore or anything on them, just don’t let them come by your baby.”