Samantha Rodgers' baby boy, Juliano, was a year old when she suddenly saw blisters appear around his mouth.
The mom from Iowa took her son to a doctor, who thought who had the flu — or at worst, a bad case of hand-foot-and-mouth disease.
But the truth turned out to be far worse, and the blisters around Juliano's mouth were just the beginning.
Juliano's sores continued to get worse and Samantha couldn't help but worry. As every parent knows, the panic that sets in when your child is sick and you can't do anything about it is unbearable.
When Juliano's painful blisters spread to his neck and stomach, Samantha took him back to the doctor.
Juliano was tested for herpes simplex virus type 1, and to Samantha's surprise, the results came back positive. Her little boy had been infected with herpes — a disease that will stay with him for a lifetime.
It's unclear how Juliano was infected, but cold sores are spread when a person touches a cold sore or saliva that contains infected fluid — and small children are especially sensitive. All it takes is a hug or a kiss with someone who is infected for the virus to infect another person.
"It sucks because this is a lifelong problem now. Every time he runs a fever, every time he's sick he can have an outbreak, I don't know how to handle this. I am trying to do the best, it's sad, it breaks my heart, and I can't do anything to help him," Samantha told WHOtv.com
Juliano has received treatments to reduce his symptoms and he's feeling better now. But he'll carry the herpes virus with him for the rest of his life.
Samantha doesn't know who infected her son, but now, she's calling on other parents to be careful about letting people come in contact with their children. A person can carry the virus even if they don't show any symptoms.
"All I can say is just be cautious, it can be anybody, your best friend, your sister, your brother, or your mom, it can be anybody. Everybody needs to wash their hands, sanitize, if you see a cold sore or anything on them just don't let them come by your baby."
Juliano isn't alone. We've previously written about two-year-old Sienna, who suddenly had a bloody rash on her face. It took her doctors eight months to figure out what was wrong. And it turns out that she had been infected with the herpes virus by a relative who gave her a kiss.
The younger children are, the more dangerous the herpes virus is for them. Please consider sharing this information with your friends who have children. Even if you know how dangerous cold sores are for children, not everyone does.
No child should be affected by this!