But sometimes, this basic act of love can put babies in danger, especially if you have a spreadable infection such as cold sores.

You are a mother, and you kiss your baby with maternal affection, but now you are worried and question what to do if I kiss my baby with a cold sore. If you want to know how to protect your baby in this case, here is what you should do immediately.

What To Do If I Kissed My Baby With A Cold Sore?

Cold sores are considered a highly contagious disease, and they can spread easily through kissing or physical contact. Almost 50% of the American population is affected by herpes, and there is no treatment for this so that it will stay forever in your body. It is not a dangerous disease in adults, but in babies, it is fatal. You may have cold sores or the HSV virus, but you don't know because you don't have  enough knowledge about it, so to help you, let's first take a look at cold sores

What Are Cold Sores?

A cold sore is a clinical sign or symptom of infected persons with herpes simplex type 1. It is also known as oral herpes because it mostly spreads in the oral cavity and face. The most common symptoms of HSV type 1 are

  • Cold sores: These are fluid-filled crusty blisters that burst after some time. You can have cold sores in the oral cavity on the cheeks and lips,
  • Burning sensation around sores
  • Itching and burning sensation on genitals
  • Fever
  • malaise
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue

You will not observe fever and muscle fatigue at the early stages; however, cold sores indicate herpes even if you don't have other symptoms.

Can Babies Catch Cold Sores?

Newborn babies have antibodies from their mothers, which means they have some resistance against infections. However, herpes is a viral infection that is more severe than bacterial.

Babies share an immune system with their mother, but their immune system does not develop until six months. Because of an undeveloped immune system, herpes can be deadly for babies and require immediate medical attention. Babies can get infected by herpes in two ways.

Can Babies Catch Cold Sores

Horizontal Transmission

This accounts for only 10% of herpes infections in babies. Horizontal transmission is when the babies get herpes from people's contact after birth. It can be because of kissing, touching, and the infected thing, such as a towel.

Vertical Transmission

It accounts for the rest of the 90% of cases of herpes virus in babies and is much more dangerous. The mother can have type 1 or 2 herpes, and the baby can get infected with it in case of vaginal delivery.

Steps To Prevent Cold Sores in Babies After Kissing

You kiss your baby accidentally but immediately realize what you have done, and now you're panicking. Instead of panicking and getting worried, take immediate action to protect your baby.

Wash your baby's affected area with soap and water. Also, try to sterile it immediately by using baby-friendly sanitizers. These steps can't guarantee that infection will not spread, but it is a preventive measure that may reduce the risk.

When To Take Your Baby To The Doctor?

If your baby shows these symptoms without any delay, take your baby to a pediatrician.

Rashes Or Blisters

Mostly, rashes, papules, or blisters are the first signs that your child is infected with herpes. In this case, immediately take your child to a physician because if the infection can spread to the periorbital area, it can be dangerous and can cause irreversible damage

Immunocompromised Child

If your child already suffers from medical conditions such as eczema or has some congenital disorders like Down syndrome, they will need special care. In such cases, their immunity is much less than normal babies. If you kiss your already immunocompromised baby, don't wait for rashes to appear; immediately take them to the pediatrician.

Effected Nervous System

This is rare in adults but common in children if the infection is not treated early. Herpes can cross the blood-brain barrier and cause nervous system symptoms such as headache, paralysis, seizure attacks, and meningitis. This state is fatal, and chances of survival are very low.

Zero Or Slow Recovery

Sometimes, despite all the care and giving prescribed medications on time, your baby doesn't recover. In this case, it is possible that the diagnosis was wrong, and your baby doesn't have herpes. Rashes can be because of any other skin condition or infection. If the rash doesn't recover even after giving medication for ten days, then again, take your baby to the pediatrician.

Tenderness, Elevated Temperature, And Swelling

If you feel that the skin around the cold sore is becoming red and the baby has a fever, your baby may have developed a secondary bacterial infection. In this case, the infection spreads in the whole body, known as sepsis. It is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention, so make sure to call 911 immediately or take your baby to the hospital as soon as possible.

Tenderness, Elevated Temperature, And Swelling

Complications Of Neonatal Herpes

HSV is fatal and dangerous for babies under six months. So completely isolate yourself with your baby if you have herpes, and never let anyone with a cold sore kiss or touch your baby. Their immune system is not developed to tolerate such dangerous viruses. If herpes is not treated on time, then in babies, it may lead to irreversible conditions such as

  • Infection of the cornea, also known as keratitis. This can heal without causing permanent damage, but if it is severe, it may lead to blindness.
  • Untreated herpes can spread in the blood and cause sepsis, leading to multiple organ failure and death.
  • Last but not least, it can permanently affect the nervous system, causing deadly conditions such as meningitis and epilepsy.


For how long babies are at high risk of catching herpes?

Babies under six months old have weak immunity and can easily catch herpes. It is advised to take special care of babies under six months, and if they develop fever or any other symptom, immediately take them to the hospital.

Can you feed your baby with cold sores?

Yes, you can feed your baby with cold sores, but ensure that you wash your hands, all sores are covered, and there is no rash on your chest.


Cold sores are considered one of the most contagious and fatal diseases in babies. If it is in its initial stages and treated on time, then there will be no complications, and the baby will live a healthy life. However, suppose the symptoms are ignored, or the babies cannot recover even after medical attention. In that case, it may lead to complications such as permanent blindness, sepsis, and even death.

As a parent, you are responsible for protecting your baby, so make sure that no one with a cold sore touches or kisses your baby. If you get a cold sore, try completely isolating yourself from your baby. Prevention is always better than treatment in such cases, so be cautious.

Share this post