'It started with a kiss': Mum's warning after four-year-old rushed to hospital

A mum of two has issued a serious warning after a simple kiss put her daughter in hospital for four nights.

When Jaime Lippold noticed her four-year old daughter Aubree had a pimple on her cheek, she didn’t think too much of it.

But when the pimple scabbed and fell off, before growing in size daily and appearing infected, Ms Lippold rushed Aubree to a doctor in their hometown of Springfield, in the US state of Illinois.

The little girl was also experiencing fevers, a loss of appetite and lack of energy.

Aubree and her mum Jaime Lippold pose for a selfie.
Aubree's illness started with a pimple that quickly escalated after a seemingly harmless kiss on the cheek. Source: Jaime Lippold/Supplied

On two separate trips to the doctor on days three and five, Ms Lippold was told Aubree had impetigo – an infection that produces red, itchy sores.

But the next morning the sore had doubled in size and the fever was back, prompting the worried mother to rush the four-year-old to the Children’s Hospital.

Doctors gave Aubree “aggressive” antibiotics while they waited for test results to come back, and when they did it confirmed what Ms Lippold was thinking – that it was her who had made her daughter sick.

Young girl contracts herpes simplex virus from mum

Doctors confirmed that Aubree had contracted HSV-1, the herpes simplex virus, after her mum kissed her cheek.

“Because I had a cold sore that wasn’t fully healed, and was playing around kissing on my daughter, I passed the virus to her through a tiny pimple on her face,” Ms Lippold wrote on Facebook.

She told Yahoo News Australia that finding out she was the source of the illness was devastating.

“It is very hard on me knowing that it all started from a kiss from me,” she said.

Three side-by-side photos show the sore on Aubree's cheek getting larger by the day.
Ms Lippold took photos of Aubree's condition on day 3, day 5 and day 6 – the day she was admitted to hospital. Source: Jaime Lippold/Supplied

“I had no idea that HSV could be transferred so easily. Actually, I was not even aware of the severity of HSV. I just thought it was a ‘common cold sore’.”

Aubree spent four days in hospital receiving treatment and once at home, underwent 10 days of antibiotics.

Despite the infection starting almost a month ago, Aubree is still left with a red mark on her cheek that “will take some time to heal”, Ms Lippold said, but noted Aubree was back to her “normal silly self”.

“This is something that could be reoccurring for Aubree. She could have flare-ups,” she said.

“If she is ever struggling during a flare-up, I plan on letting her take mental health days and just relaxing at home with me. Because the world can be cruel.”

To raise awareness of the dangers of HSV, Ms Lippold shared her story to Facebook.

“I am shocked at the reaction on my Facebook post. I figured a few of my friends would share it, but not 38,000 people. I have hundreds of messages from people sharing personal stories or just giving advice. It is insane how many people are hearing about her story,” she said.

Aubree's cheek is covered in a blistery rash as she is diagnosed with herpes simplex virus.
Aubree was diagnosed with herpes simplex virus after being kissed on the cheek. Source: Jaime Lippold/Supplied

Dangers of kissing while infected

In her post, Ms Lippold shared an important piece of advice that could potentially save the life of an infant.

“Don’t kiss on babies when you have a cold sore. Don’t kiss on them when you feel like you have one coming. Don’t kiss on them even if your sore is “healed”. If the sore is visible at all, it can be passed to someone else,” she wrote.

Additionally, she implored people to research HSV.

“Look up all of the facts. Learn about it. People need to be more aware of HSV. Even though it’s so common, not many people are aware of how serious it can get,” she told Yahoo News.

Around 75 per cent of Australian adults have been infected with HSV-1, according to NSW Health, while around 12 per cent have HSV-2, otherwise known as genital herpes.

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