Have Medical Questions? Ask a Doctor Online!
Hi there. As a fellow parent I understand your concern about the possible transmission of herpes to your daughter. It can, and often is, spread from family member to family member. Keep in mind, though, that over 60% of individuals in the world are estimated to have oral herpes (herpes simplex virus 1). Most of us have been exposed to it by the time we reach our late 20s. While it can be a nuisance and result in outbreaks of painful lesions, most people do not get lesions or only do so rarely. The virus is almost always harmless. In those with frequent outbreaks, medications can be used to suppress the virus and keep it silent.
You certainly have the right to ask people not to kiss your baby on the mouth. This would be the most likely source of transmission (other than transferring saliva from the hands or by sharing drinks). However, I think it is virtually impossible to prevent your daughter from getting the oral herpes virus during the course of her lifetime. If she does not pick it up from one of you, or your in-laws, she will pick it up from a friend at school someday or a sibling, if you are planning on having more kids. If she is in good health otherwise, and has a normal immune system, she should be able to handle the virus just like everyone else. Some would argue that it is better to pick it up as a child than later as an adult. Antibodies produced in response to the virus now, might actually help protect her against similar viruses in the future. :-)