Rhian Brace thought the odd blister on her son’s head was just a rash. Then it started spreading.
First of all I want to say a massive thank you to everyone for the well wishes, kind words and love sent to my little…
As Mamamia reports, the mom from Doncaster, England, hadn’t been home with her baby for long when she noticed a strange, blister-like bump on his scalp.
Newborn son Ernie was less than two weeks old at the time, and Rhian thought he might have developed a reaction to something in their home.
“Given the fact I have very sensitive skin, I wasn’t 100 percent sure that my son hadn’t followed in my footsteps,” she told Yahoo 7.
The young mom had been carefully instructed in what to look for in a newborn that indicates a health issue, like changes in eating, breathing, temperature, or behavior. But Ernie didn’t show any signs of illness. Rhian wrote on Facebook:
Ernie didn’t have a temperature, his nappies hadn’t changed, he was feeding as he had been for the two weeks he had been at home. The only indication I had that he wasn’t well was one tiny blister like spot on the back of head.
Then, while Ernie was in the bath, the blister on his head popped, and his mom noticed a pus-like substance come out. Worried that it might be infectious, Rhian rewashed her son’s hair and head. Within three days, the blisters had not only returned but spread. Ernie first had four more blisters, then another six appeared the next morning.
Worried, Rhian took her son to the doctor. She had originally been told that the bump was probably eczema, but she was sure it was more serious than that. Doctors agreed and admitted Ernie to the hospital immediately. Three days later, the infant was diagnosed with herpes simplex.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately half of all Americans are infected with herpes simplex by the time they become adults. It’s more commonly known as the cold sore virus. But while the herpes simplex virus is generally harmless (if uncomfortable) in older children and adults, it can be very dangerous for infants.
The New York Department of Health warns that for newborns, a herpes simplex infection can be very severe and even fatal. The blisters, along with a low fever or poor feeding, are the earliest symptoms of the infection in a newborn, though they can be followed quickly by seizures, high fever, and lethargy.
Infants require weeks of IV antiviral treatment to recover from the virus and can suffer brain damage from the infection.
Rhian wrote on Facebook that herpes simplex “is just as deadly as meningitis in babies if not treated straight away because it starts to attack their brain, lungs and other vital organs, resulting in Ernie needing a long line fitted, so the antibiotics can be fed straight into his system.”
Most often, infants are infected with the herpes simplex virus from their mother’s birth canal. However, they can also contract it from someone who has an active cold sore or has the virus in their saliva.
Rhian says she was tested, and it was confirmed that she did not pass the virus to her son. But that means someone else did. She told Yahoo 7: “So that leaves it down to someone that has been in contact with my child that either kissed him or didn’t wash their hands, even though I had specifically asked for everyone to do so.”
After weeks in the hospital, Ernie is now on the road to recovery, though he will spend the next six months on oral medications. What’s more, he will need numerous follow-ups to ensure the virus is completely out of his system. Rhian told Dearly, “Ernie is slowly getting back to his happy little self, but we still have a long road to go.”
Rhian says that as a new mom, she was often the target of criticism from people who thought she was being overprotective with her rules about washing hands and not kissing her son. Now, she’s urging parents to trust their instincts and stick to their rules.
As she told Dearly, “Make sure everyone follows the rules [parents] put in place and do not let anyone make you feel like you’re being too overcautious.”