'An awful nightmare': Mum's warning after a kiss nearly killed her baby

Kaylah Merritt.
Baby Kaylah Merritt developed eczema herpeticum after being kissed on the lips. Photo credit: Caters

A UK mum is warning parents to be careful after a kiss on the lips nearly killed her baby.

A family member kissed young County Durham resident Kaylah Merritt while they had a cold sore in December 2018, and the one-year-old quickly became unwell.

Brogan Thomas noticed spots all over her daughter's tiny body while giving her a bath.

"It was an awful nightmare, there were purple rashes everywhere and Kaylah was sobbing her heart out," she told Yahoo7 News.

"I was terrified, my first thought was it had something to do with meningitis because she had it before."

When Kaylah started crying in pain, Ms Thomas and fiancé Connor Merrirr, both 22, were terrified and took her to their local Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Kaylah was diagnosed with eczema herpeticum, a potentially life-threatening viral infection caused by the herpes virus.

It's contracted through skin to skin contact with an infected person, who may or may not display visible cold sores. Babies are especially susceptible to the disease because of their underdeveloped immune systems.

The baby spent four days in hospital receiving emergency treatment, including two rounds of antibiotics and several topical creams to soothe her inflamed skin.

Doctors told Kaylah's parents she could have died without medical attention, and now they want to spread the message to others.

"When the doctors told me how dangerous it was, I cried and cried thinking how I could have lost her due to a silly kiss," Ms Thomas told Yahoo7 News.

"If we hadn't gone to the hospital quickly... we could have lost her."

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