'We're warning other parents, because no one warned us'
This mother thought her 8-week-old had conjunctivitis, but it was something much scarier.
Ok so here I go, with a tear in my eye.
Did you know about Herpes Simplex Virus? It's known as the common cold sore virus. Did you know that if a baby under 6 months old comes into contact with a cold sore it can be life threatening? We didn't... and our little 8-week-old Lottie has had to suffer.
On Sunday, I noticed Lottie had a watery eye and hoped she wasn't coming down with conjunctivitis.
On Monday, Lottie woke up with a red crusty eye. I thought I was right, Lottie had conjunctivitis. The chemist advised us to treat it with saline solution, we did.
By Tuesday, Lottie's red eye had developed small red lumps and blisters around it. I was sure this wasn't what conjunctivitis looked like so I made an appointment with the GP, I couldn't get an appointment until late Wednesday afternoon.
That afternoon, I noticed two small red pimple like spots on Lottie's left hand from where she had rubbed her eye, I then considered she might have Hand Foot and Mouth.
An hour later Lottie was irritable and upset and nothing would console her. She did not have a temperature and was generally otherwise well. I phoned the Maternal Health Nurse and they advised that I take her to the Hospital Emergency Department so I packed up the boys and off we went.
We waited for an hour and a half and finally saw a doctor who advised us that Lottie was OK and the rash would disappear after 10 days but to expect it to get worse before it got better. She did not have a temperature, she was not lethargic, she was fine and we would be fine to go home.
At the time I questioned that doctor and said I was still concerned about her eye. what if it was an infection and what if it went into her eye ?And could it cause permanent damage if it did get worse?
That doctor then proceeded to phone the pediatrician who requested pictures of Lottie's eye. Within half an hour the pediatrician arrived at the hospital and asked me if anyone could have had a cold sore around Lottie. I said yes, Lottie's dad had had a cold sore that week. He immediately told me about Herpes Simplex Virus and the danger it posed.
Lottie was in danger
For an infant, Herpes Simplex Virus can spread to the brain and other organs within days, causing permanent damage and death if left untreated. Lottie was immediately connected to an IV antibiotic and they told me what the next 24-48 hours may involve.
On Wednesday we were transferred to Albury Childrens Ward where we waited for her symptoms to develop. Lottie became lethargic and miserable but still pushed through with a smile.
A lumbar puncture was performed along with multiple blood tests. It takes days for these tests to come back, so the only option was to treat the virus until they knew if it was actually even present. We just had to wait and hope for the best.
The tests came back positive
Lottie was indeed infected with HSV but luckily we caught it before it travelled any further. The pediatrician told us that if we hadn't taken her to the Emergency department and had waited for the GP appointment the next day, or if we hadn't questioned the doctor further and gone home - there was a high chance that we may have lost Lottie and that she is a real success story.
For now Lottie is on the mend, still smiling and on a course of 14 days IV antibiotics followed by 6 months of Oral Antibiotics, weekly pediatric appointments and blood tests.
95 percent of those friends and family who we have told have had no idea of the risk that a simple cold sore poses for an infant.
We believe there is absolutely not enough education on the risks associated, if we had known there was such a thing and just how terrible it is then we are sure Lottie wouldn't have had to go through this.
I have written this post for Lottie and for awareness but I have also written this post for Ben, Lottie's dad.
To watch someone so strong go through the process of blaming themselves for their daughters illness is debilitating.
As many times as I or anyone else can tell Ben that it is not his fault, he will always carry this on his shoulders and it's really not fair. Ben wishes for everyone to be aware of the risks, he never wants anyone to feel the guilt that himself or sickness that Lottie has encountered.
We are super blessed to have each other, our two beautiful boys Regan and Nate and gorgeous little Lottie.
Please share this story- It might just save another precious little ones life.
To Owen the Pediatrician who acted so quickly on reviewing and treating Lottie, Thank you.
To Cassie the pediatrician who diagnosed Lottie, created a plan and for covering all bases , Thank you.
To Matt and Damian the doctors who have talked us through everything and kept us constantly updated , Thank you.
To the amazing bunch of nurses at Albury Childrens Ward who have made us so feel comfortable and so well looked after and cared for, Thank you.
To Mick the Nurse at Wodonga ER who was so kind and helpful and gave me a cup of tea and some tissues, Thank you.
We can not Express just how lucky we are.