Baby Catches Herpes & Mom Blames Daycare​ Teacher

baby hand in mouthAs parents, we sometimes send our kids off to daycare or school and hope they don't come home every other week with a cold, the flu, a cough, or any other kind of germy thing that happens when you have a bunch of dribbling, putting nearly everything in their mouth kinds of little ones together in the same playroom. But it's inevitable. Kids get sick. Sometimes we blame other kids for our own kids getting sick, but in order to not blame anyone, you have to live inside a tiny bubble without ever letting anyone in. So, kids get sick.

Oklahoma mom Consuela Smith is upset that her 1-year-old daughter is believed to have contracted herpes from her daycare teacher at ChildTime. I don't blame her -- any time our kids get sick, it is upsetting. But it is herpes simplex 1, a very common viral infection of the mouth that kids contract. It is not a sexually transmitted disease.


Smith said that her daughter has multiple sores in and around her mouth, and some are bleeding. I feel awful for this child, as it must be very painful and also difficult to treat since a baby that age is often putting everything into her mouth, including her hands, and then touching many other things. The mom reportedly said that one of the daycare workers has herpes simplex 1. It doesn't seem that there was any intentional wrongdoing. ChildTime issued this statement:

Our children’s well-being is of the utmost importance to us. We have strict policies and procedures to ensure we meet or exceed regulatory guidelines on health and safety. We take every precaution to prevent the spread of germs or illness, and investigate any reported concerns. 

Having cold sores isn't as scary as it may seem, even for children. It's awful, yes. Unsightly. Often painful. But I must stress that this is not an STD. Doctors have reported that the first outbreak tends to be the worst and how common herpes simplex 1 is. It can be spread easily, especially from one child to another. This makes a daycare setting particularly susceptible -- even at the cleanest facilities. Many adults who have oral herpes contracted it as a child.

There is an oral medicine a child can take to fight the virus and a numbing agent to use on the sores to ease any pain. Many experts suggest cool drinks and easy-to-swallow foods like applesauce and yogurt because sometimes the blisters are in the throat, making eating painful. It's often preceded by a fever. If you think your child has oral herpes, see a doctor. Most kids recover within 10 days -- and for many the virus stays inactive making new outbreaks rare. With any virus -- and general health care -- of course we should make sure our kids wash their hands often, and try to avoid them putting their hands in their mouth. If they are infected (or another child is), make sure they avoid sharing toys, utensils, and cups with each other. And no kissing.  

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And unless a daycare has a special sick room, it's a good idea to keep a child with something contagious home until they are well.

I hope this child gets well fast.

Are you concerned about your child catching something like this at daycare? What would you do if this was your child?


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