Can a Baby Catch a Cold Sore from an Adult?

Playing Are Adult Cold Sores Contagious with Babies?

A viewer tells The Doctors about a family member who has cold sores and keeps kissing her 6-month-old baby. Is this dangerous? Can it be contagious?

The Doctors all agree this is potentially very bad. Yes, cold sores can be extremely contagious, especially to an infant. Parenting expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa says it’s absolutely reasonable to put up boundaries because if the baby gets a cold sore on their lip it could very painful and land them in the hospital.

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Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra explains that cold sores are viral and caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is spread through saliva so kissing and sharing things like cups and utensils should all be avoided.

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She adds that when a child gets a primary infection with herpes simplex it is usually very severe. The biggest risk in an infant is that it can spread to their nervous system and they can develop encephalitis, which could kill a baby. As a rule, OB/GYN Dr. Nita Landry advises people to just not kiss other people’s babies.