An attentive mother, Samantha Rodgers of Iowa, had reason to be concerned when she saw red bumps and blisters around her child’s mouth. Baby Juliano was just one year old when she noticed these symptoms.
Rodgers took her son to the doctor, who diagnosed him with the flu. At the worst, they figured, this was just an incredibly bad case of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.
However, Juliano continued to get worse and Rodgers’ concern grew. His blisters grew and became more painful as they spread to his neck and stomach.
He was tested for herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV). To Rodger’s surprise, the test results came back positive.
Rodgers is not sure how her 1-year-old could have contracted the virus, but doctors say it can spread easily. Herpes can be spread through skin-to-skin contact, saliva, or even handling objects that herpes-infected individuals have touched.
Though Rodgers was not aware of anyone with herpes being around her baby, it could have happened in a manner as simple as giving little Juliano a hug or kiss. Babies, whose immune systems are not fully developed, are especially at risk.
“It sucks because it’s a lifelong problem now,” Rodgers said. “I don’t know how to handle this. I am trying my best. It breaks my heart, and I can’t do anything to help him.”
Juliano has been undergoing treatment for herpes since he was diagnosed at the end of July. He should be able to go home soon to finish the treatments.
In an effort to prevent this from happening to other babies, Rodgers offered parents some advice. “All I can say is just be cautious,” she advised, “it can be anybody, your best friend, your sister, your brother, or your mom.”
“If you see a cold sore or anything on them just don’t let them come by your baby,” said Rodgers. The spread can also be controlled by washing hands frequently and sanitizing home surfaces and children’s toys.
Though Juliano will live with this for the rest of his life, outbreaks do not necessarily happen often. He might never have another outbreak or he could have them multiple times a year. His mother is hoping for the best, and we appreciate her taking the opportunity to warn other parents.