An Aussie mum has spoken out after her baby ended up in hospital fighting for her life after a kiss turned deadly.
Helen Farrell, 26, from WA, knew she had the herpes virus that causes cold sores, so when one appeared on her lip she stopped kissing her bub Bonny, then six months old.
'Having had the virus since I was a teen, I didn't want to pass it on to my daughter,' explains Helen.
But when a scab appeared next to Bonny's ear, Helen feared she had somehow passed it on.
'But the GP was sure it was impetigo, a bacterial infection and said antibiotics should clear it up,' said Helen.
A couple of days later, the blisters had spread to Bonny's arms and back and she was prescribed an antibiotic cream.
A week later, in the car, Bonny began convulsing repeatedly. After rushing to the hospital, Helen was given some devastating news.
'I'd inadvertently passed on herpes simplex virus to my girl,' said Helen.
Prior to her cold sore appearing, Helen hadn't realised she was already infectious and had passed it in with a simple kiss.
The virus had travelled to Bonny's brain causing viral encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.
Over the next two-and-a-half weeks, Helen and her fiancee Russell, 33, watched their little girl fight for her life.
'Before our bub had been able to roll and sit up. Now she was like a newborn, unable to even support her head,' explains Helen.
Three months later she was diagnosed with right-sided hemiplegic cerebral palsy - a result of her brain being starved of oxygen during her seizures.
Then it was discovered she had a bleed on her brain and she had to undergo a six-hour operation.
Now, 18 months on, Bonny has to undergo daily rehab to help move her right arm and can almost sit up independently.
'She can't speak yet so we've started using basic sign language,' says Helen.
'For a long time I grieved for the child I lost. But I've had to learn to appreciate the beautiful girl I have.'
Helen shared her story to warn other parents about the dangers of kissing babies if you have the herpes virus.
For more real-life stories see issue 18 of that's life! magazine - out now!