When Jeff and Natasha from Phoenix, Arizona, found out they were pregnant with a baby girl, their joy was palpable.
By the time it came to welcome their little girl – they would later name her Mallory – into the world, they could barely contain their excitement.
They had big plans for their family, plans that were tragically derailed when Mallory passed away after just three weeks of life.
Doctors were stumped when she developed a fever, and Jeff and Natasha were forced to watch her fade away as her condition deteriorated. Now, they have a warning for all parents over an avoidable, yet potentially fatal issue.
In her first week of life, Mallory developed a high fever that left medical professionals confused. She hadn’t been exposed to anyone who had been visibly sick, making it difficult to diagnose her with anything.
It was only when blisters began to appear that doctors realized it was herpes that she had contracted, in the form of the HSV-1 virus. By then, however, the antivirals they had administered were too late to be of use.
For the following two weeks, Jeff and Natasha were forced to watch on as Mallory’s condition deteriorated, as anti-viral medication couldn’t save her by that point.
Heartbreak followed heartbreak as their baby worsened, and there was nothing they could do.
Eventually, Mallory passed away. It took Jeff a month to be able to bring himself to write a post on Facebook about what happened, with his sole aim to educate others so that such a fate won’t befall them.
He now wants to warn other parents of newborns about hygiene practices that could save their children’s lives.
“If you have a new baby, or will be around a new baby, wash your hands. A lot. If anyone wants to hold your baby, make sure they wash their hands first. Then make them do it again.
“Please, if you’re reading this, be extra diligent about washing your hands around newborns. Statistically speaking, you’re probably infected with HSV-1 whether you know it or not.”
Though infant fatalities through HSV-1 are rare, it’s important to take the utmost precautions when it comes to being around young ones who are vulnerable to sickness and disease.
Given that it’s believed more than half the world’s population has HSV-1 – with many not showing symptoms – it’s better to be safe than sorry about transmitting this virus to a baby.
Always thoroughly wash your hands, even if you’re only going to be holding a baby for a moment. It could be the difference between life and death.
Please help Jeff and Natasha spread their message by sharing this article on Facebook!