Kissing your baby is a natural thing to do, especially when you just feel all the love pouring inside that you want to show your baby. But little did we know that there is more to kissing a baby than just showing our affection. Kissing a baby might be a way of sharing a disease which might not be harmful to you, but is to your baby!

What could your baby acquire when kissed?

What could possibly go wrong with kissing someone so adorable like your baby? Kissing is more than just a show of affection, it may also pave the way for your baby to acquire some diseases that might be fatal to their health. Here are some diseases or problems that your baby might have when kissed by some relatives or friends:

1. Respiratory Syncytial Virus
RSV is a common infection in children that affects the lungs and breathing passages of a baby, causing them to have a stuffy/runny nose, sore throat, etc. It is known to be highly contagious and may be spread through saliva droplets from kissing, coughing or sneezing.

A baby’s airway is not the same as adults and are very tiny and thin in size, and inflammation may be fatal to your baby.

2. Cold Sores (HSV-2)
When a family member or a friend kisses your baby, they may also transfer some kind of virus called the “Herpes Simplex Virus” which has 2 strains: HSV 1 and HSV 2. HSV1 or “cold sores” is the more common one in children. It causes tiny fluid-filled blisters in clusters that usually occur at the edge of your baby’s lips. It is highly contagious and is easily spread through skin to skin contact. This infection may go to the brain causing seizures, fevers, irritability and poor feeding in your baby.

3. Food Allergies
Many adults might not be aware that babies can acquire food allergies from them especially during parties. Even make up is not an exception as this contains some triggers that may cause an autoimmune response in your baby. Remind your friends or guests not to kiss your baby near the lips as the food that they consumed might cause an allergic reaction in your baby.

4. Kissing Disease (Mononucleosis)
Kissing disease or infectious mononucleosis is under the herpes family that may also cause respiratory problems for your baby. Aside from acquiring it through kissing the baby on the lips, it may also be acquired through saliva, sharing of utensils and drinking of water from the same bottle or glass. It often presents with high fever, nausea, vomiting, enlarged lymph nodes, and a sore throat. Kissing disease is viral in origin and eventually resolves in a week or two.

5. Cavities
Kisses may also transfer cavities to your child. A bacterium called “Streptococcus mutans”, which is present in your saliva, can be passed on to them when you kiss them, especially when you don’t practice proper oral hygiene. Proper oral hygiene and not sharing food with your baby can prevent this from happening.

6. Weak Immune System
Due to their young age, your baby’s immune system is not yet well developed. Anyone who comes into contact with your baby who is unaware of their illness may spread the bacteria and virus to them and since their immune system is still not good enough, they will have a higher chance of acquiring the disease.

7. Diarrhea
The bacteria in their gut is still developing hence they are prone to having stomachache, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Stomach viruses are highly contagious and can pose a danger to your baby. It can lead to dehydration that will cause your baby to be confined to the hospital. Even those who are breastfed aren’t an exception as they may also have these problems.

8. Whooping Cough
Whooping cough is another highly contagious infection for your baby that makes “whooping” sounds when coughing. It has the same symptoms as flu and can be mistaken as flu too. Before the invention of the vaccine, it was responsible for millions of deaths worldwide, but now that there is one, millions of lives are saved by it. Just make sure that your baby has complete vaccination to avoid diseases such as this.

How to prevent these from happening

It is natural for our body to be a habitat for bacteria and viruses. Us, adults, may have a great immune system that can protect us from these agents. But what about our children? They are still so small and need us in order for them to grow well and healthy. Here are some precautions that you can take while kissing or cuddling your baby:

• Maintain your personal and oral hygiene regularly as this reduces the chance of you transferring your virus or bacteria to your baby. It also helps improve your overall health.

• Maintain proper oral hygiene of your baby as they tend to salivate a lot, and this might be a good habitat for bacteria and viruses.
• Washing your hands before and after you handle your baby, change diapers, and feed them lessens the risk of you infecting your baby.
• Bathe your baby regularly especially during summer as the moisture in their skin is a good place to multiply bacteria.
• Teach your friends and family the importance of these precautions and how doing this keeps your baby safe from these kissing diseases.
• Make sure that you always clean the surfaces in your home especially those that your baby has a frequent contact with like the floors, mats and toys.
• Tell those who are already showing signs of flu or infection to not kiss nor have a contact with your baby. If you are the one who is sick and you can’t ask help from anyone else, make sure that you wear a mask and wash your hands before and after handling your baby.
• Make sure that you regularly go to your pediatrician to have your baby completely vaccinated as some vaccines reduces the risk of your baby acquiring some of these deadly diseases.