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Can a Kiss on the Lips Be Deadly for Babies?

In case you missed it, there's a post spreading like wildfire on Facebook that may make you rethink letting just anyone kissing your newborn child—especially anywhere near their lips.

New mom Claire Henderson recently shared a post on Facebook warning other moms of the dangers of letting visitors kiss your newborn baby by recounting her own harrowing tale. Apparently a friend had visited her month-old daughter Brooke, and kissed her near her mouth. Sounds pretty harmless, right? Well, it turns out this friend had the herpes simplex virus 1—which can be transmitted through saliva and oral contact—but hadn't exhibited any symptoms yet.

The U.K. mom soon noticed cold sores and blisters around her baby's mouth and rushed Brooke to the hospital, where more sores were discovered in the back of her throat. Luckily the symptoms were caught early on and Brooke is on the mend, but had she waited longer, doctors say the newborn could've suffered serious neurological damage.

RELATED: I Kiss My Kid on the Lips, So What?

Henderson writes in her post, "Please share this with every new mum and pregnant woman you know ... COLD SORES CAN BE FATAL FOR A BABY. Before 3 months old, a baby cannot fight the herpes virus. If a baby contracts this, it can cause liver and brain damage and lead to death. 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."

It's important to note that while it is true that infants—especially those younger than three months of age—can be severely affected by the herpes virus, it's extremely rare. According to Dr. Bonnie Maldonado, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Stanford University, most babies aren't at risk because they still have antibodies from their mothers, but she would still "encourage people not to kiss babies in the first month of life if they have lesions." Although this mom wonders—lesions or not—why is anyone kissing a newborn near the mouth in the first place?

Either way, we're glad baby Brooke is safe and healthy.

Photograph by: Facebook/Claire Henderson

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