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I am susceptible to cold sores and have had them at least once a year for many years. I had them several times during pregnancy and had an attack after the birth of my daughter. I didn't know how dangerous they are for newborns until recently, although I had taken care to not kiss my daughter on the lips or near her eyes since I didn't want her to contract them from me. However, my daughter is almost five weeks old, and I am still scared that I may have put her at risk if she touched my mouth without me noticing. Last night, for example, she reached up and hit my mouth (I had a small cold sore there that had scabbed over) and then put her hand near her eye before I could stop her. I am totally panicking. So far, she seems perfectly healthy and happy though, and I have not noticed anything unusual physically. 1. It is my understanding that my antibodies to HSV1 crossed the placenta, and so she should have passive immunity to cold sores anyway...does this mean she is unlikely to catch it from me and I can stop panicking? 2. If she does catch it, would the antibodies she received from me help protect her, resulting in a more mild form of HSV1? 3. I have read that HSV is most dangerous for babies under 28 days, especially those who contracted it through birth...my daughter is almost 5 weeks old now, so a bit past that threshold. Does this mean her immune system would be better able to handle this if she caught it now?
ETA: I also exclusively breastfeed, if that makes a difference.
I'm happy that you have asked me to assist you with your child and hope that you can benefit from my many years of helping parents like you.
It is not that common for infants to pick up fever blisters from their parents but you are correct in assuming that contact between an open sore on your lips can cause this. As long as you are diligent about keeping an open lesion away from her, even kissing any body part, then she should not catch it.
Of course, 70% of all people have had fever blisters and when one person in the family has them then others are very likely to catch it at some point. For now, just keep washing your hands and being cautious when you have a lesion is all you can do. Of course, your doctor can prescribe one of the herpes medications for you to use when you do have a breakout or better yet, to start when you feel the burning or itching that lead to an ulcer.
I see you are still offline but I'll watch for you return to chat with questions if you have any.
Hi...my main question is regarding whether or not she would have passive immunity to the cold sore virus because of antibodies she received from me in utero...I am trying hard to be very careful around her and am making an appointment for me to get medicine now, but I am very worried about any accidental contact she may have had prior to this point...
I have had them for years, so I am assuming she would receive those antibodies and have some protection...
or if I did accidentally give them to her, the effects would not be quite as catastrophic due to the antibodies and the fact her immune system is more advanced at 5 weeks old than it would be if she were a brand new newborn...are those accurate assumptions?
There will be some immunity, just as there is for tetanus, pertussis, measles, etc but by 6-8 weeks of age that has waned, which is why we start immunizations then. I wouldn't worry too much about it since she still has some immunity from you, both in utero and from nursing.
OK, I am glad to hear she has some protection then...thanks!
You are quite welcome.
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