A newborn baby almost died when he contracted herpes virus in his eye after being kissed at a christening.
Noah Tindle was just four-weeks-old when his mum, Ashleigh White, noticed her son's right eye was swollen, blistered and was watering.
After seeking medical advice in September last year, Noah was rushed to hospital and was quickly diagnosed with Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) – known as the 'kiss of death'.
Doctors told devastated Ashleigh her newborn baby was likely to have caught the virus through an infected adult kissing his face, causing him to almost lose the sight in one eye.
The 21-year-old mum guessed it had been contracted at a christening the family had attended together just five days before.
Noah – who is now nine-months-old – spent two-and-a-half months in hospital recovering.
Despite relapsing in March this year, he's currently hitting all his milestones as he continues a course of antiviral medication due to finish in 2020.
Ashleigh, a phone sales agent from Barnsley, south Yorkshire, said: "He was only four-weeks-old when he contracted herpes in his eye.
"We went to a christening where friends were holding and kissing him – it could have been any of them.
"I just want to make more people aware of the risks and consequences of kissing a baby, especially a newborn when you suffer from cold sores as I know how heartbreaking it can be seeing your baby so poorly.
"Hardly anyone had seen the photos of Noah when he contracted the virus until I posted the pictures online but I thought it was important to spread more awareness."
When Noah was first seen by a health visitor they suggested his irritated eye was due to a blocked tear duct and said it would clear up by itself.
"Noah didn’t have any high temperature, he was still eating as he should and lots of wet nappies so nothing to make me think that he wasn’t well," his mum continued.
"But a few days later, I noticed he had some blisters appear round his eye and I'd read something on Facebook about another baby having the virus and the blisters looking the exact same.
"What I didn't realise, is that even if you don’t have an active cold sore , you still do carry the virus in your system and saliva, meaning you can never be too careful.
"I immediately took him to the doctors who said he suspected something else after me raising concerns of it being HSV."
The doctor referred the baby to Barnsley Hospital children’s ward where he underwent multiple tests and was given injections and antibiotics.
"After I persisted that it was definitely HSV they started treating him for it and a few days later the test came back positive for HSV-1," she continued.
"The virus was on his eyelid, but we managed to catch it before it could enter the bloodstream, but he couldn't open his eyes for days."
HSV-1 is more commonly known as the cold sore virus which isn't harmful to adults, but can kill babies.
The virus can spread to babies brains and cause organ failure – which is why Noah was left fighting for his life.
Ashleigh said: "Noah was sent to Sheffield Children’s Hospital and went down to theatre to have a long-line fitted for the antivirals – he had the antivirals for two weeks, an hour at a time, three times a day.
"He spent two hours in the theatre for what should have been a half an hour operation because he was so tiny."
After six months of taking prophylactic antiviral the virus caused a break out in March, meaning Noah will need at least another nine months of the drug.
"We still have a long way to go yet before we’re out of the dark and still continuously having checkups with his doctors and ophthalmologists, but after our appointment with his doctor yesterday he is happy that Noah is well and happy, so it’s good to know you’re doing something right," Ashleigh continued.
"I was lucky enough to catch it in time and still have my little boy here with me today, but some might not be that lucky.
"It was physically and mentally draining seeing Noah so poorly and would do anything to help stop families going through what we went through, so please, please, please don't kiss newborns.
"He's crawling, he's like a baby should be – we had two and half months in hospital because of this, now he can live a normal life again."
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