Herpes viruses are very tricky. They can do no harm, existing in the human body for the rest of their lives, but they can go from the latent stage to the active stage and cause an acute disease, and then again "lie low." Usually in adults, herpes appears when immunity is weakened due to the disease, due to severe stress, nervous overstrain. In children, herpes develops for exactly the same reasons. However, there is an important nuance - the immunity of the infant is immature, it is always somewhat weakened.
Up to 6 months, the child is under the protection of maternal antibodies, he has innate immunity. It copes well with some respiratory viruses, opportunistic bacteria. However, it is rather difficult to resist the herpes virus.
The nervous system of a child under one year old undergoes constant intensive changes. Practically all varieties of the herpes virus are neurovirulent - they live in the cells of the nervous system, transmitting and spreading through the bloodstream. This can have extremely negative manifestations for the unformed nervous system of an infant — up to a fatal outcome, if we are talking about a severe congenital herpetic infection.
The most common herpetic virus in babies is a virus of the first type. It is manifested by the appearance on the lips or in the area of the nasolabial triangle a noticeable rash that resembles blisters, pimples with watery contents.
Herpesvirus of the second type - genital herpes, its babies receive from the mother: either during pregnancy through the uteroplacental bloodstream, or during childbirth (through an infected birth canal). It is manifested by a small watery rash in the genital area, anus, and also on the face, around the lips.
Herpes virus of the third type in children causes a disease such as chicken pox (chickenpox). Chickenpox is rarely diagnosed in infants and toddlers up to a year. Probably, the antibodies that are in the mother’s blood provide sufficient temporary protection against the third herpes virus.
If the mother did not suffer from chickenpox, and in the family where there is a newborn, the eldest child fell ill with her, then with a high degree of probability the crumbs also show characteristic symptoms of chicken pox.
A newborn can become infected during childbirth — from a mother who, for example, suffered an acute infectious disease shortly before birth. Such herpes in infants can be very difficult. Hospitalization may be required.
The fourth type of herpes virus (Epstein-Barr virus) causes infectious mononucleosis. The fifth type of herpes virus is the second name - cytomegalovirus. It is transmitted from mother to fetus, infection is possible during childbirth and after birth. The sixth type becomes the cause of pediatric roseola or pseudorasnuha, the seventh and eighth types of herpetic viruses are not well understood. Doctors suggest that there is some connection between the appearance of such viruses in the body and the formation of malignant tumors - sarcoma and lymphomas.
All herpetic viruses enter the human body once in a lifetime. They can not be cured, they can not be rid of, they remain forever. After an acute illness, they turn into a latent “sleeping” state and may cause some inconvenience only during periods of adverse effects on the body damaging immunity factors.
Features of primary herpes simplex
This infection manifests itself in a child in the form of stomatitis. Six months after the appearance of the baby crumbs, the mother’s antibodies can no longer protect it from the negative influence of external factors. Herpes simplex appears during the cutting of the first teeth. During this period, the integrity of the gums is broken, so bacteria can easily penetrate into the body and spread in it with blood. Against this background, babies appear red spots, itching and redness. If time does not begin treatment, then ulcers form in their place. A detailed examination can detect a significant increase in the lymph nodes that are located on the neck or jaw.
Symptoms of herpes in infants are bright even in the first stage of development.
Mom should not leave them without attention:
- Constant capricious state.
- The baby cries regularly.
- Increased body temperature.
- Sleepy and apathetic condition.
- Occurrence of seizures.
- Lack of appetite or a complete rejection of the meal.
Herpes infection is very dangerous. If you have these symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor. Otherwise, the risk of occurrence of a number of complications increases:
- Kaposi is a dangerous type of eczema that is characterized by the appearance of a large number of bubbles on certain parts of the head. Additionally, the infant has a strong itching, the appearance of weeping or dry crusts on the skin. The health of a small patient is aggravated by increasing the body temperature to 40 degrees. Eliminate the disease is possible only in a hospital inpatient department.
- A feature of primary herpes in newborns is that small blisters can also appear on the eyes. Pathology is known as keratitis. It is accompanied by severe pain, tearing. If you do not start treatment in time, the cornea may completely dim.
- The virus can lead to inflammation of the finger. The disease in medical practice is called felon. Harmful bacteria get under the skin through cracks or scratches. Additionally, on the limbs one can observe severe swelling, pain and redness.
- Encephalitis is a serious pathology that occurs on the background of the beginning of the inflammatory process in the brain. Herpes virus has a negative effect on the central nervous system. Infection occurs through the intrauterine route. The baby periodically observed convulsions and fever. The disease requires immediate hospitalization. Only timely diagnosis and a properly chosen course of treatment give hope for a normal life of the crumbs in the future.
Herpes in children is characterized by an incubation period of two days to three weeks.
The main causes of the disease
Herpes simplex in newborns is diagnosed before the age of one year. They can get infected from relatives through airborne droplets. The disease can be transmitted to the baby through the placenta or during movement through the birth canal. The risk of infection is greatly increased with the transfer of the disease in the second trimester. However, the consequences will be minimized if the woman received good treatment.
When breastfeeding herpes can also develop if the woman does not follow the basic rules of personal hygiene. The virus can remain for a long time on dishes, towels, toys and other household items. In children under one year, relapse, which occurs against the background of reinfection, is also a great danger.
Features of the diagnosis
Determine how to treat the disease, it is possible only on the basis of test results. The disease can be recognized by specific rashes on the lip. They may also spread over the skin. Inside each bubble accumulates a large amount of fluid. Additionally, you can also detect violations in the behavior of the child. It is changing for the worse.
On the body of the child, the doctor examines the visible symptoms and their manifestation. To confirm the diagnosis will need to conduct laboratory tests:
- urine and blood tests
- in some cases it is impossible to do without the study of cerebrospinal fluid,
- obtaining the main characteristics of the secreted fluid from the nose and eyes.
Features of therapeutic measures
For a nursing mother, it is important to take your child to an infectious disease doctor in time. After a detailed examination, he will be able to select an adequate course of treatment. Thanks to him, it will be possible to minimize the likelihood of developing serious neurological pathologies. We should not forget that the virus can be fatal. Treatment is chosen individually and directly depends on the specification of the immune system.
At the first stage, it is necessary to use drugs that will reduce the activity of virus reproduction. Aciclovir, Zovirax, Gerpevir are very popular in this group. Depending on how old the child is, the most appropriate form of the drug is chosen:
The genital type of the disease is necessarily treated with oral medications. They enhance the action of the main component. It is also advisable to use them to fight against lichen, encephalitis or eczema. In some cases, it is impossible to do without intravenous administration of Acyclovir.
Congenital herpes can be treated with human interferon. The drug is injected. Neovir or Cycloferon is also used in this group of drugs. The last tablets should be used to treat the symptoms and complications of the flu.
This type of infection in the mouth and other parts of the body can be easily removed with medication. The course lasts a long time and involves the implementation of the intake of tablets according to certain schemes. Completely get rid of the virus in the body is impossible. Thanks to drug treatment, it is only possible to minimize the likelihood of a relapse. To achieve maximum results, you should fully comply with all recommendations of the doctor. In addition, parents should send strength to strengthen the work of the immune system. For this baby should constantly harden.
Komarovsky advises starting treatment for this virus only in the most severe cases. The immune system must learn to fight it without using additional medications. However, the symptoms of infection must be taken under medical supervision. Unfortunately, today there is no means that could reduce to zero the risk of infection. In medical practice, only the chickenpox injection is used, which is also caused by viruses of this group.
If mommy noticed the formation of strange bubbles on the child's skin, you should immediately get an appointment with a pediatrician. To feed the baby in this period with breast milk is allowed. If you do not start treatment in time, the risk of serious complications on the background of secondary herpes increases.
Recurrences of secondary herpes
The process of infection may remain imperceptible. However, the virus can lead to frequent herpes on the lips and other parts of the body. In a secondary outbreak, the disease manifests itself as ulcers in the following places:
- mucous membranes,
- damage to the eyeball.
When ulcers appear on the genitals of a child, their parents may experience shock. In this case, the virus entered the child's body while passing through the birth canal. Sores are present in large numbers of non-genital organs and other parts of the lower limbs. In the genital form of the disease, neoplasms may appear in the bladder or excretory channels. However, the disease is dangerous not only because of external signs. The situation is exacerbated by the following complications:
- serious complications and disturbances in the organs of hearing and vision,
- malfunction of the cardiovascular system
- pathologies in the work of internal organs,
- blood diseases.
Unfortunately, the disease often leads to death in infancy. Genital pathology is prone to relapse in 50% of cases. According to statistics, this form of the disease is most often manifested in girls. That is why a woman should be attentive to sexual contact in the first half of pregnancy. Indeed, in this case, the risk of virus penetration to an unformed fetus increases.
Pregnancy needs to be planned in advance. Parents should long before her start a healthy lifestyle. The state of the child’s immune system is directly dependent on nutrition and other external and internal factors. If you regularly have a negative impact on the body, then the risk of infection of the baby genital herpes increases. The congenital type of the disease affects the crumb in the event that the virus enters the body during gestation. Parents should not care for their health and immediately before conceiving.
Immediately after the baby is born, a woman should carefully examine the condition of his skin. Symptoms of the disease also manifest as a deterioration in the overall health and behavior of the child. If mommy found a change, you should immediately consult a doctor. The pediatrician must take the crumb under supervision. Self-treatment in this matter will not give the desired effect.
As a preventive measure, contact with a large number of people should be limited immediately after birth. If relatives have a rash on the lip, then the baby should not come into contact with them.
Ways of herpes infection of newborns
The herpes virus can enter the baby’s body in two ways:
- at the time of birth, passing through the birth canal affected by herpes,
- through the placenta.
Infection during the passage of the birth canal is the most common method of getting herpes virus. According to statistics, 50-60% of infections occur through the birth canal. Infection with the virus through the placenta occurs much less frequently. Such a transmission of infection most often occurs during the primary infection of the mother or when the active forms of herpes are in her blood.
If a herpetic infection has penetrated to the fetus in the womb, an inflammatory process may develop that will lead to the destruction of the umbilical cord vessels or thickening of its walls. In some cases, the virus develops an immune block that prevents the delivery of protective antibodies to the fetus. The baby can be completely left without protection. For these reasons, the mother's body loses its protective and nourishing functions.
In the event of a primary infection with herpesvirus occurred in early pregnancy, then a miscarriage is possible. In later periods, the infection is fraught with serious complications:
- hepatitis liver
- intrauterine pneumonia,
- impaired fertility,
- rash of various etiologies,
- severe damage to many other fetal organs.
Symptoms of herpes in infants
Constant crying should alert mom, because he is one of the symptoms of herpes infection.
For newborns, herpes is a great danger, because if not treated promptly, the baby’s body is subject to serious disturbances and complications. It is important not to miss the first symptoms of herpes and to start antiviral therapy in time.
On the body of the child appear small bubbles filled with muddy liquid, accompanied by painful itching. When combing, wounds form that slow down the healing process. Sores can appear on the lip, face, body, mouth, throat, gum. In some cases, there is inflammation of the lymph nodes.
Quite often, babies develop herpetic stomatitis, which is characterized by fever (up to 39 degrees), increased salivation and refusal to eat because of severe pain in the mouth. Sores in the mouth may not heal within 2 weeks with an elevated temperature of up to 7 days.
The first signs of herpes can be observed 1-2 weeks later after birth. A skin rash of various etiologies appears in most babies. However, it is important to determine the etiology of lesions and begin adequate treatment, after consulting with a pediatrician. In the absence of proper therapy, death can occur, possibly a brain damage.
Experts identify three clinical forms of herpes infection in newborns:
- Localized - characterized by the appearance of multiple bubbles on the body of the infant. Subsequently, the bubbles form ulcers, the healing of which is possible within 2 weeks. The localized form can lead to the following complications: uveitis, corneal erosion, choreoretinitis, CNS damage.
- Generalized - the nonspecific symptoms of the herpes virus in newborns can begin at 5–10 days of life. The following symptoms are observed: frequent regurgitation, lethargy, shortness of breath, increase and decrease in body temperature, signs of pneumonia.
- Damage to the central nervous system - in this clinical form, a rash on the body may be completely absent. In this case, the baby completely refuses to eat, becomes sluggish, drowsy, the body temperature rises, and generalized convulsions may occur.
Also, damage to the central nervous system can occur due to herpes on the lips, throat, in the entire oral cavity. Plus, herpes sore throat and stomatitis can join.
How is herpes virus diagnosed in newborns?
First of all, the doctor conducts a visual examination of the infant.
The main method of diagnosis of infants is to examine the skin and mucous membranes.Also taken into account are all the facts that mom talks about: the constant crying of the child, refusal to eat - all this may indicate the presence of herpes.
The next fact, which indicates the presence of infection are seizures of unknown origin. Along with the symptomatic diagnosis, the doctor conducts laboratory studies of the following plan:
- Electron microscopy - allows you to explore biological objects such as cells, viruses, bacteria, biogenic macromolecules, etc.
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a diagnostic method for determining the causative agent of an infectious disease.
- Direct detection of herpes virus in vesicle fluid.
Treatment of herpes in infants
The main drug therapy prescribed by a specialist is to take antiviral, immunostimulating drugs. It is also appropriate to receive interferon and external treatment of sores for speedy drying. It is very important to start the treatment of herpes from the first moments of the appearance of the disease. A timely approach to treatment will eliminate the risk of complications and protect the child from long-term painful sensations.
If the treatment of herpes infection is neglected, then it will become chronic, which will torment the child with frequent relapses. At worst, serious complications will develop.
As a rule, the treatment of newborns is carried out in the hospital. Herpes infection can affect certain organs, leading to problems with the vessels. In this case, the Doctor may prescribe medicines to the baby that reduce blood clots - “Curantil”, “Cavinton”, etc.
Mandatory measure of treatment is antiviral therapy. The main drug used to treat herpes in children and adults is Aciclovir. Available in different forms: ointment, tablets, suspensions, injections. In some cases, the doctor prescribes intravenous administration of the drug. The most commonly used tablet form. Acyclovir, Zovirax as an ointment is applied to the affected area up to 4-5 times per day.
The choice of the form of acyclovir depends on the state of health of the newborn, as well as on the location of the herpetic rash.
During treatment, the infant should drink more water and take antipyretic drugs at elevated temperatures. If the baby is experiencing severe itching, drugs are prescribed in the form of ointments and tablets.
Acceptance of immunostimulatory drugs is necessary in order to help the child cope with the disease, prevent the virus from infecting new healthy cells and move to internal organs. These drugs include Immunal, Arpetol, etc.
Interferon-based drugs are also prescribed, which can destroy the infection and block the further reproduction of the virus in the body. Most often, such funds are produced in the format of candles that are used rectally. To dry the sores, you can use iodine, brilliant green, zinc ointment.
To avoid the development of frequent recurrences of herpes infections and other viral diseases, it is important to comply with preventive measures:
- use only your things
- follow the rules of personal hygiene,
- course taking antiviral drugs,
- gradual hardening of the body,
- vitamin therapy,
- course taking immunostimulating drugs in the cold period.
Each mother is obliged to listen carefully to the state of health of her child, since it is important not to miss the first symptoms of a herpetic infection and seek medical help in time.
Forms of herpes in children and their causes
The most common form of herpes in babies is considered to be the first type of virus. It appears on the lips or in the area of the nasolabial triangle in the form of bubbles with a clear liquid inside.
Another type of infection is the second type of infection or genital herpes. This form is transmitted to the newborn from the mother: during pregnancy (through the uteroplacental blood flow) or birth. Detected by watery rash around the genitals or anus. Infection can also form on the face, in the area of the lips.
A type three virus caused by chickenpox. However, in children under one year this disease is rare. This is due to the presence of protective antibodies in the body of the baby. The probability of catching chickenpox increases if the eldest child is sick in the family. Also, an infectious disease is transmitted from the mother during childbirth, if she had recently suffered from this ailment. This route of infection is difficult and may require hospitalization of the newborn.
The fourth form includes Epstein-Barr virus, which provokes the development of mononucleosis. The fifth type of herpes is cytomegalovirus. Infection occurs from mother to baby during childbirth or after birth. The sixth form contributes to the manifestation of pediatric roseola or pseudorasnuha.
Congenital and acquired herpes takes the following forms:
- CNS damage.
Signs of the first form are:
- The appearance of bubbles on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose.
- Purulent rash all over the body: on the thighs, face, genitals, limbs.
- Temperature rise.
- The child becomes restless because of the itch that is disturbing him.
In a generalized form, the main symptom is often missing - a rash, manifested as:
- belching becomes frequent,
- the baby is more sluggish or constantly crying
- baby's skin turns blue
- problems in the kidneys and liver,
With CNS lesions in the newborn, they note:
- refusal to eat
- body temperature rises to 39-40 degrees,
Symptoms and diagnosis
The infection has many forms, but they all have common symptoms:
- keen and stormy beginning
- rashes typical of this virus
- after treatment, the rash disappears completely.
Of all, the most easily determine - herpes of the first type. The main symptom is papules on the lip, which first look like separate bubbles, and then merge into one oval-shaped plaque. Before the appearance of vesicles in a child the temperature rises sharply.
Muscle and joint pain and fever are symptoms of other types of herpes, such as genital or chickenpox, mononucleosis. It is harder to detect roseola, it is also accompanied by fever, but a rash on the body can appear in a few days.
For professionals it is easy to detect the virus of the first three types. More difficult is the situation with other species, often the symptoms are similar to ARVI, which blurs the picture. Therefore, doctors put the wrong diagnosis, and the disease is detected after the newborn enters the hospital with complications.
To identify the infection in the early stages and draw up a treatment plan, it is not enough to examine the baby alone, so a blood test using PCR is done to determine the DNA of the virus. In addition to the full picture requires:
- biochemical and complete blood count,
- taking samples from papules,
- smears from mucous membranes,
- scrapings from the affected areas,
- if a generalized form is suspected, a spinal fluid is taken for examination,
- in case of development of complications, ultrasound, CT, MRI is done to determine the state of the internal organs.
Primary Herpes Simplex
HSV in infants develops as herpetic stomatitis. After half a year, the baby does not have enough antibodies to fight the infection. At the same time, the growth of teeth occurs, the integrity of the gums is broken, which causes the virus to enter the body. Penetrating, the herpes virus causes redness of the tissues of the cheeks, gums, then the infection manifests itching, then the formation of sores. Some children have an increase in the submandibular and cervical lymph nodes.
Parents should pay attention to the behavior of the baby, some external symptoms speak about the development of the disease. For example, a child often:
- crying for no reason
- heat is detected
- sleeps longer than usual
- there are cramps
- refuses to eat.
Herpes simplex virus with these symptoms can lead to diseases:
- Kaposi's eczema is inflammation of the dermis, with bubbles on the cheeks, lip, hands and head. Vesicles often itch, covered with serous crusts. Body temperature rises to 40 degrees, which requires immediate hospitalization.
- Primary herpes of the eye - causes redness of the area around the eyes, burning and tearing. In extreme cases, it leads to corneal clouding.
- Herpetic felonotus - in this course a finger is inflamed, which can swell, ache and blush.
- Encephalitis is an infection of the meninges. In the CNS, the virus enters the prenatal way, leading to seizures and fever.
HSV occurs in children under one year. Infection occurs through airborne droplets from relatives or from an infected mother through the placenta, birth canal. It is recommended to undergo a thorough treatment if herpes was detected in the second half of pregnancy. Another way of transmitting the virus is through poor hygiene. This means that the mother does not monitor the cleanliness of dishes, toys, clothes.
Secondary herpes (relapse), complications
Often, due to the fact that the infection was not diagnosed on time, the virus remains in the child’s body, which subsequently affects not only the lips, but also other parts of the body.
Relapse occurs on:
- Mucous and epidermis.
- Genital organs.
- Eyes affecting the eyeball or appendages of the organ.
In addition to external signs, other serious complications are identified:
- Violation of the ureters and MP.
- Hearing and vision problems.
- Blood disorders.
- Impact on the functioning of internal organs.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- The formation of blood clots.
- Cerebral palsy.
Such a course is likely to be fatal.
Ways of contracting herpes
Infection in infants is congenital and can be transmitted from other people. There are several ways to infect children under 1 year old with herpes:
- Placental. Transmitted in the womb, the virus penetrates the amniotic fluid.
- At the time of birth. This method is characterized by the fact that the infection is transmitted through the birth canal if the woman is infected with genital herpes.
- When breastfeeding.
- Airborne (sneezing, coughing).
- When contacting relatives, for example, when kissing through saliva.
- Organ transplantation or blood transfusion also contributes to the spread of infection if the recipient is ill.
Depending on the form of herpes and its course, as well as, if it is recurrent, a therapeutic course is prescribed by a specialist. In the first type, it is possible to carry out treatment at home, but in cases of complications of children up to one year old, they are placed in a hospital for round-the-clock observation due to high mortality from this pathology.
- Drug therapy most often in babies less than 3 months old provides for the use of Acyclovir intravenously. There is also an analogue of Zovirax.
- If necessary, the doctor prescribes and anticonvulsants, as this symptom is common in young patients.
- In infants with rashes on the lip and older than 3 months, apply acyclovir ointment.
- With the formation of the virus in the mouth, doctors recommend the use of Rivanol and Furacilin solutions.
Herpes in acute form causes an increase in body temperature to 39-40 degrees, which is dangerous for newborns. Antipyretic drugs are prescribed to reduce: Ibuprofen or other drugs containing paracetamol. Some doctors recommend using funds in the form of rectal suppositories, which include this substance.
In the case of a severe form of herpes, immunoglobulins are prescribed in combination with vitamins to restore immunity. Depending on the stage and complications, the drug course can last from 3 weeks. And even after the end of the virus is completely impossible to destroy, all funds are aimed at alleviating the symptoms and alleviate the condition of the little patient.
Parents unknowingly, not trusting the opinion of the doctor, begin treatment on their own, using folk recipes. Such an approach is categorically not recommended, as there can be serious consequences and serious complications. Some plants cause an allergic reaction. To take drugs without an appointment is also in no case impossible, only a specialist is able to choose the right dosage. Hormonal ointments that only aggravate the situation are contraindicated, and treatment will take much longer.
Not only the doctor is able to recognize herpes infection in children under one year. Attentive mothers can, with a high degree of probability, suspect the insidious onset of the disease after seeing specific eruptions on the skin, the lip of the infant. A distinctive feature is the filling of bubbles with liquid, a change in the behavior of the child with the external symptoms of herpes.
For an accurate diagnosis of the disease, whose symptoms are visible to the naked eye, you can conduct laboratory tests:
- of blood
- cerebrospinal fluid
- discharge from the nose or eyes
After an infectious disease diagnosis of herpes in infants, the pediatrician prescribes adequate treatment. It is very important to carry out treatment in full to reduce the risk of neurological diseases, death of the disease. The treatment regimen can be individualized, depending on the state of immunity, as advised by Dr. Komarovsky, who developed a method for treating herpes in infants.
First place is given to the drug, the vast reproduction of the herpes virus. This is a well-known drug ACICLOVIR (other derivatives - zovirax, herpevir). The drug number 1 in the fight against herpes is used externally (for skin manifestations, rashes on the lip) in the form of:
Treatment with external preparations is enhanced by the use of tablets with the same active ingredient. In severe cases (herpes encephalitis, Kaposi's eczema), intravenous administration of acyclovir is recommended.
Ordinary human interferon, which is used as an injection, is excellent for treating a viral infection. Neovir or cycloferon can be used to produce interferon by the organism itself. The latter drug, by the way, has established itself as a good tool in the fight against influenza.
Herpes infection in infants is well stopped by the use of drugs. Moms should know that treatment can be long and expensive, involves taking medication according to certain regimens. In order to achieve a stable remission (it is impossible to completely get rid of the virus in the body, but it can be put to sleep for a long time), it is necessary to follow the doctor's orders consistently and accurately. Treatment of children under one year should be aimed at strengthening the immunity, hardening of babies.
Dr. Komarovsky advises to begin drug treatment of herpes in infants only in severe cases. If the immunity in children under one year is strong, you can do without chemicals, says a reputable pediatrician. In any case, if symptoms of HSV are identified, medical supervision is necessary. Remember that a vaccine against a herpes infection does not yet exist. Only vaccination against chickenpox (chickenpox), also caused by the herpes virus, is effective.
Attention! In no case can not "dismiss" from the manifestation of bubbles on the lips, they say, will pass by itself. Such carelessness can lead to big problems, cause secondary forms of herpes.
Secondary (recurrent) forms of herpes in infants
If the disease has gone unnoticed, which is often the case, the herpes virus settles in the child’s body, which can no longer lead to the harmless manifestation of herpes on the lips;
The secondary outbreak includes:
- herpes mucous and skin
- genital herpes
- ophthalmic herpes
A big shock for mom is the manifestation of genital herpes in children. They may be infected with the virus and get genital herpes during childbirth, but more often it is a manifestation of the secondary form of the disease. On many photos, genital herpes in children looks terrifying: multiple rashes on the mucous genital organs, the inner surface of the thighs. In severe cases, genital herpes may be a lesion of the ureters and bladder. But that's not all. In addition to the external symptoms of herpes in infants, experts note the following serious complications:
- damage to the organs of sight and hearing
- violation of cardiovascular activity
- internal diseases
- blood disease
Alas! These complications often lead to the death of babies. Recurrent genital herpes is manifested in 30 - 50 percent of infants infected with the herpes virus.
According to statistics, the female population suffers more from genital hepatitis. Expectant mothers need to carefully monitor sexual contacts, especially in the first half of pregnancy, when there is a high risk of infecting your baby with this infection.
Causes of herpes in infants and the way of infection
The herpes virus can be in the human body throughout life and does not manifest itself. However, under certain conditions it is activated. In newborns and infants, the immune system is not fully formed, so they are susceptible to the effects of various infections. The main causes of herpes in babies include:
- weak immunity,
- non-compliance with the rules of hygiene in the care of the baby,
- infectious diseases of the mother during pregnancy,
- contact with a sick person.
Herpes in newborns is congenital, infants may become infected with infection from other people. There are several main ways of infecting children under one year of age:
- Placental. The child is affected by the virus while in the womb. The infection is able to cross the placental barrier and enter the intrauterine waters.
- When passing through the birth canal. Most often, the baby is affected by a virus that is located on the genitals of the mother.
- Maternal milk. Infection (for example, with herpes on the lips) is able to penetrate the child's body during feeding (we recommend to read: what herpes looks like on the lips of children and photos).
- Penetration of the virus through airborne droplets.
- Direct contact. Relatives can transmit the infection to the baby when kissing, while using common household items.
- Organ transplantation or blood transfusion from a diseased donor.
Conservative treatment of herpes is aimed at eliminating the source of infection, reducing unpleasant sensations, accelerating the healing of sores, and reducing the intensity of associated symptoms. The treatment regimen is determined depending on the severity of the disease. The duration of therapy reaches 10-30 days. The table describes the main drugs that are used in the treatment of children.
Treat the baby must be comprehensive. The use of antiviral and immunomodulatory drugs helps fight infection. Antihistamine medicines and ointments reduce itching, and antipyretic drugs relieve the baby’s general condition. In severe forms of infection, immunoglobulins are used.
Folk remedies can not have a significant impact on the herpes virus. Their use reduces discomfort and accelerates the recovery of the body. Use traditional methods of treatment should be with caution, because some substances can cause allergies in the baby. In the treatment of herpes using the following recipes of traditional medicine:
- Lotions from the juice of celandine. Freshly cut clean stalks of the plant are applied to the affected areas of the skin for 3 minutes, 2 times a day.
- Compresses of potatoes. A small potato is peeled and rubbed on a fine grater. Gruel wrapped in cheesecloth and applied to the site of injury.
- Ointment from honey and mustard. 1 tbsp. honey mixed with 1 tsp mustard, grease damaged areas.
- Put on the rash sea buckthorn oil.
- When the first signs of herpes appear, apply toothpaste on red spots.
- Compresses from the infusion of calendula. 1 tsp flowers pour 100 ml of boiling water, insist 1 hour. Moistened with a cotton swab, applied to the wounds and sores.
Congenital herpes of the newborn is dangerous in that it is capable of taking a latent form and does not manifest itself until a certain point. In infants, most often the virus occurs in the first month of life due to fetal infection or after 6 months. Infection in children under one year often proceeds with complications.
Weak immunity of the child is not able to resist, so even timely treatment does not always save from the consequences. Possible complications:
- kidney, liver, heart,
- gastrointestinal tract diseases
- infection of the eye membranes,
- impaired hearing and vision
- herpetic pneumonia,
- rheumatoid arthritis,
- vascular lesion, blood clots,
- Cerebral palsy,
- dysfunction of blood formation.
Symptoms of herpes in infants
The primary manifestations of herpes in newborns are characteristic rashes on the lips, passing on the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth. Focal lesions appear as inflamed, well-defined areas of the skin, eventually transforming into bubbles filled with fluid.
With the deep penetration of a herpes infection, sharp temperature fluctuations with spasms at peak values, muscle hypotoneus, lethargy are added to external signs.
The severity of symptoms depends on when the infection with herpesvirus occurred. The manifestations also vary depending on the form of herpes infection:
- The localized form develops in the first two weeks of a child’s life. It is characterized by lesions of the skin, mucous membranes of the mouth and eyes. Herpes begins with the appearance of vesicles with a diameter of up to 2 mm. The rash covers the body without causing a general inflammatory reaction. After opening the bubbles in their place, erosive areas of skin are formed, which heal within 10-14 days. The defeat of the conjunctival membranes leads to inflammation of the optic nerves.
- The generalized form at first has no specific manifestations. The symptoms in this case are identical to general neonatal sepsis with the addition of signs of pneumonia. The child becomes sluggish, belches after feeding, the skin and mucous membranes in infants becomes bluish color, breathing is difficult, and apnea can be observed. Rashes appear within a few days of the onset of the disease. In 20% of cases, the generalized form occurs without a specific rash.
- The striking form is registered in 30% of newborns infected with herpes. The disease makes itself felt on the 12-17 day of the child's life, starting with a sharp increase in body temperature, lack of appetite, tremor of the limbs. These manifestations are quickly joined by convulsions - partial or generalized. Characteristic rashes appear in 40-60% of cases.
The herpes virus in newborns can appear as a result of infection from the mother or as a result of contact with an infected person with acute herpes if personal hygiene rules are violated. The carriers of the virus are the majority of the population of our planet, but only those among them who have the virus in an active state represent a potential danger for a small child.
Congenital herpes develops in a child if a woman first becomes ill with herpes after conception. Since antibodies to any subspecies of the virus persist in the human body throughout its life, children of mothers who have had a herpetic infection before pregnancy are not at risk.
Ways of contracting herpes in a newborn baby:
- intrauterine - during the initial infection of a woman in the first trimester of pregnancy,
- ascending - with deep penetration of herpes infection through the cervix and placenta,
- in the process of natural childbirth - during the passage of the child through the affected birth canal.
The first episode or recurrence of herpes in a woman for up to 12 weeks leads to the penetration of the virus through the incompletely formed placenta and the defeat of the fetus. Congenital herpes is fatal in 70% of cases. Through the birth canal, the child becomes infected if the pregnant woman suffers from the genital form of the disease.
The secondary is each case of a herpes following the first episode. Breastfed babies under one year old are less likely to get sick because the immunity to the virus is transferred from the nursing mother through breast milk.
Secondary infection develops on the background of a decrease in the immune status of the child.
The virus that is in the ganglion cells is most often activated after complicated respiratory diseases. Severe secondary herpes is typical for children up to a month. The older the child becomes, the more likely it is that herpes will pass in a mild form and will not cause complications.
Treatment of herpes in newborns
Neonatal herpetic infection is treated with systemic antiviral drugs, since localized herpes can at any time become a generalized form. Treatment begins before rashes appear, which indicate the transition of the disease to the late stages of development, fraught with grave consequences for the child's life systems.
The duration and nature of therapy depends on the form of the disease, determined during the preliminary examination.
Diagnosis is shown to all children of mothers who first became infected with the herpes simplex virus (HSV) during pregnancy.
Complications and consequences
Herpes in a newborn baby is more difficult than in older children and adults. Transition of the virus to the active phase is dangerous because in the neonatal period it affects not only the skin and mucous membranes, but also the nervous, respiratory, urinary systems, organs of sight and hearing.
If you ignore the manifestations of a herpes infection and do not seek medical help on time, the progress of the disease can lead to:
- herpetic lesions of the eyes, up to complete loss of vision,
- extensive lesions of the skin and mucous membranes (dermatitis, stomatitis, keratitis, Kaposi eczema),
- disorders in the brain, triggered by viral encephalitis, meningitis,
- acute purulent inflammation of the soft tissues of the limbs (most often the fingers).
Diseases that develop in newborns as a result of untreated herpes require emergency hospitalization and long-term treatment in the hospital.
Opinion of Dr. Komarovsky
Dr. Komarovsky believes that it is possible to save a child of the first year of life from a herpetic infection by working to strengthen his immune system. For the prevention of viral infection, he recommends that parents in the acute period of herpes avoid close contact with a one-year-old baby and use a separate towel and bedding when the rash appears.
Herpes in newborns, in his opinion, requires treatment under the control of an infectious disease specialist and a neonatologist. To eliminate the infection, Komarovsky recommends the use of antiherpetic drugs, starting their intake from the first day of infection with the virus and supplementing systemic therapy with the application of local remedies.