We all love babies. Newborns get the highest amount of adoration and attention from the adults. Isn’t that natural? If you are the relative/ friend of the newborn’s parents, love comes out of loyalty. If you are the parents, need I say more? Affection, care, and fondness just pour out genuinely. That’s love. And what happens out of such compassion? We kiss those babies, a pure habit that we can’t help. I have done the same, I am not denying it. I have kissed both my newborns on their cheeks.
But what separated me from others is that I never touched their cheeks with my lips. If I brushed my lips against them, very lightly, I made sure my lips had no trace of lipstick or lip balm.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
I will tell you why it is harmful to kiss a baby, especially a newborn on their lips. When an adult kisses a baby’s lips, they are transmitting germs and viruses onto the baby. A common case is infecting the infant with some kind of Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV. HSV-1, commonly known as cold sores, generally occurs on the mouth. It has been estimated that around 70% of US adults suffer from HSV-1. HSV-2, or what we know as genital herpes, happens to one in six of US adults. Adults have the ability to fight this painful, irritating disease.
But for a baby who is only few days old, it is impossible to overcome such pains, given that their immune system is nowhere near as strong as a toddler of two to three years old. Given such circumstances, an infant will be attacked severely which can have them hospitalized. In more critical cases, this can even lead to death.
The herpes case is as threatening as it sounds. If the parents can detect early symptoms of HSV on their baby, and it is immediately taken care of, then the baby can overcome it without serious consequences. Neonatal herpes simplex should be treated as soon as it is detected. The earlier, the better.
Cold sores are often the result when babies are kissed on the lips. The effect may even equal the effects of HSV-2. There are many cases of babies adopting cold sores from adult kisses. In this recent example, a mother shared her bitter experience of her child suffering from HSV-1. What she did was wonderful — she worked hard in an attempt to make her Facebook post go viral, just to create awareness for adults everywhere.
The Kissing Disease
There are other ailments that can transpire through kissing a baby. Mononucleosis, is known simply as the “kissing disease”, or “mono”. The kissing disease is also categorized under the herpes family. However, apart from only kissing the baby on the lips, this infection can be transmitted via sharing food, glasses, cups, utensils, and drinking water/ liquids from the same bottle.
Mononucleosis has many symptoms. A child is likely to suffer from fever, nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue, apathy, and swollen lymph nodes. To prevent an infant from such agonies, parents must warn others not to go all sloppy on the poor child.
Your kiss can spread cavities to your baby…
As surprising as it may seem, the following is a fact: Your kiss can lead to cavities in your child. The cavity causing bacteria is known as Streptococcus mutans. This bacteria is transferred from one person to another through saliva. And what happens when you kiss your baby? You are, basically, transferring your saliva onto your baby’s mouth. This may result in early tooth decay, a very painful experience for a young age.
… and colds too
Colds are another contagious illness. Any sensible individual would avoid a baby when they are suffering from cold. A simple sneeze in front of the infant could be fatal. You have to remember, babies from zero to three months are very vulnerable to their exposed environment. They will catch every germ that lingers through the air. So, be sensible and avoid cuddling, kissing, even playing with a baby when you suffer from a cold.
These are very crucial facts that need to raise alarm among adults. Awareness allows adults not only to prevent themselves from harming an innocent child, but to warn other, older children to do the same. One must be extra cautious whenever one is around a baby.
So, let’s halt our sloppy smooching and allow our babies to grow stronger immune systems. Then we can kiss them as much as we want!