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transmission question
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transmission question

Hi Terri, i was just wondering if i could ask you a few questions about genital herpes type 1. i contracted it quite a few years ago from an ex boyfriend. i had a primary outbreak with flu like systems, swollen glands etc. it was awful! since then i never had another outbreak. i have gone on to have 2 children. earlier this year, i took some steroidal asthma treatment, not knowing that this is a common trigger for reoccurrence. i had what i thought was thrush- and during that time shared a bath with my 2 young children, as i had done with them since birth. i later discovered that it was actually a herpes outbreak that i was having. a couple of weeks later my older child developed oral herpes. as you can imagine, this has been extremely upsetting for me. i feel like i gave it to him and i carry a lot of guilt. my doctor has convinced me that it was a coincidence and he more likely got it from his pre-school or other children. i came on the internet and i just can't seem to get a straight answer about sharing a bath during an outbreak. is there any chance at all that i have now given my other child genital herpes from sharing the bath with me? i am so anxious and worried. do children ever get genital herpes? am i being irrational? there was definitely no skin to skin contact in the bath, we were well away from each other but can it spread through the water. please help me. i have ordered your book and am waiting for it to arrive. thank you
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55646_tn?1263664409
I completely agree with your doctor that this was a coincidence.  I don't see any problem with sharing a bath with your child.  Your HSV 1 genital infection recurs and shed infrequently.  HSV is not spread through water.  There is a huge dilution factor in a bathtub that would keep that from happening.  

Two questions:
1) how was your child diagnosed with oral herpes?
2) how were you diagnosed with a recurrence of HSV 1 genitally?

Terri
39 Comments
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thank you so much for your reply Terri. i really appreciate your reassurances. it is helping me a lot to deal with this problem.
my child felt very sick one day and started complaining about aches in his legs. then he developed a high temperature and started to vomit. i took him to the local doctor who told me i should take him to the hospital emergency department. they ran many tests on him including blood, urine and x rays and they could not find anything wrong so they sent me home saying that it was a virus of some sort. a couple of days later his mouth, lips, tonsils all came up in yellow painful blisters. he could not eat or drink and was very sick. i rang the hospital and they said he had primary herpetic gingivostomatitis. they did not actually see him but diagnosed this over the phone. after a couple of weeks it cleared up and he is fine now. this is how i made the connection (in my head) between my herpes and his mouth herpes.
i was not diagnosed when i had the recurrence as i could not get myself to the doctor in that time. i did notice there were blisters on my vagina though, the same as when i had the primary outbreak. i went to the doctor after my son had his mouth outbreak to talk over with my doctor all my concerns about transmitting it to both my kids during the time of my reoccurrence and this is when she sent me for a blood test that was hsv1 positive and hsv2 negative. i should state here that i have never had an oral cold sore before.
i started freaking out at this point that i had given my children genital herpes from the bath. my other child has never shown any symptoms on his genitals, but is there any chance he contacted it during this time and the symptoms will appear later? i have heard that this can happen and this is what has me the most worried. please reassure me! my doctor said that children don't get genital herpes unless they are sexually abused- is this a true statement and i can move on with my life with no more worries about this issue? thank you so much Terri
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55646_tn?1263664409
Hmmmm.  There is just no way to know if that diagnosis is even correct.  It could have been other things, other viral infections.  Diagnosing it over the phone seems presumptuous to me.  As for you - wast here swab testing done when you were first diagnosed with genital herpes?

Don't worry about infecting your children - your doctor is absolutely correct!

Terri
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Avatar_f_tn
thanks Terri
there was initial swab testing done years ago when i had the primary outbreak of genital herpes. the result was positive to herpes but they never told me if it was type 1 or type 2. this is one of the reasons why i recently had the blood test to find out which one it was.

so can i please just make this clear Terri so that i can move on- is there any way my children could break out with genital herpes later on from me sharing the bath with them during an outbreak?

thank you, i really do appreciate your time.
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55646_tn?1263664409
No, your children will not get genital herpes from having a bath with you.

Terri
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Avatar_f_tn
thank you for your reassurance Terri. i look forward to reading your book.
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55646_tn?1263664409
Great

Terri
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Avatar_f_tn
hi terri, i have received your book and have been reading it. it is a great read. could i just ask you one more thing? - is there any cases where children have caught genital herpes from their parents (without sexual abuse)? is it really only caught from sex or sexual contact as you say in the book? i know i have an irrational fear over this, i just would hate for my kids to suffer because of my stupidity. i am seeing a psychologist to discuss all of these issues i am having- the guilt and upset. i just feel so stupid for bathing with them when i had open lesions :(
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55646_tn?1263664409
Certainly oral herpes can be transmitted via kissing a child when an adult has a cold sore - not sexual transmission.  But not genital herpes.  I'm happy you are seeing someone to talk about this - just to be clear with you, giving them genital herpes through bathing with them is a completely irrational fear.  Honest.

Terri
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thanks again Terri. merry xmas to you and your family.
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55646_tn?1263664409
And Happy Holidays to your family as well.

Terri
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Avatar_f_tn
hi terri, I've decided that I'm not going to look on the internet anymore about herpes as i feel that it may be adding to my anxiety. i realise at this point, that this is more of an anxiety issue than a herpes issue, which is why i am enlisting the help of a psychologist to get me through this. this will be my last post on this thread, i just wondered if there was anything else you could add here that would help to reassure me that my children have not been infected with genital herpes. i will be printing this whole thread out and taking it to my psychologist to discuss in my appointment in early january. any help you could give me or anything that you think you could add here that i could talk over with the psychologist would be much appreciated! thanks so much
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55646_tn?1263664409
I'm so glad are you pursuing psychological help.  Clearly, this is about anxiety, not about medicine and science.  

When you're a mom, your biggest fear in life is that something would happen to your children. When I let my  mind go there, that they could be hurt or die, I could just throw up or start crying, just thinking about it. So in this situation, not only are you thinking about your child being hurt, but you doing it!  I think that's what makes it so awful to think about, that combination is pretty disturbing.  OK, we have that part of it figured out I think.

But the other part is what is the LIKELIHOOD that that has happened or would happen in the future.  Well, we can take the future away because this has freaked you out so much, you'll probably never bath with her again (unfortunately, in my opinion).  So we are left with a single incident.  How many virus particles do you think we in the tub vs how much water?  Millions of time dilution, if there even was virus, certainly not enough to infect anyone, that's for sure.  Frankly, you have no idea if either of you actually had herpes at the time, not an outbreak for you and not oral herpes for her!    You've made so many jumps in your thinking that aren't logical.  And in the meanwhile, you are missing quality time with your child, worrying about this, distancing yourself with this.  You can't get this time back, not ever.  I really hope you can get a handle on this irrational fear, and quickly.

Terri
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thanks Terri. you have me in tears here. you are so right, about everything. i am so worried i have ruined my children's life. i will never bath with them again after this. i know that i am missing out on time with them and that i can never get this back. this whole thing has just been so upsetting for me. the bathing incident occurred 9 months ago and i am still obsessing over it! its awful. you understand it, your children mean everything to you, they really do.

so to conclude this, you are saying that there would not have been enough virus available in a bathtub of water to infect them?

i know i seem crazy. they have shown no genital symptoms in 9 months since the bath and i still wake up each day thinking they will have it.

I'm really hoping i can get a handle on this soon too and move on with my life. I'm looking forward to seeing the psychologist in the new year, and printing out and taking all your words with me.

thanks Terri for all your help.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi terri, i know i said i would keep away but i just have one more point that i need to understand so that i can get my head around all this. i have been reading up some more on hsv genital- and is the reason that it is only transmitted sexually because it needs to be rubbed in quite vigorously to the mucous membranes? is this why it would not be spread through the bath water i.e.. it needs the actual vigour of the sexual act to transmit? does that make sense?
i am so looking forward to seeing the psychologist. its just a shame i have to wait so long! just want to make sure i am armed with as many facts about the virus as possible so that i can get a handle on my thinking once and for all.
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55646_tn?1263664409
Yes, you are correct about the need for firm contact for transmission to occur.  

It is too bad you have to wait a while, but just keep reminding yourself daily of things we've discussed when you start to worry.  Another option would be to set aside a time each day to worry about this, but not allow yourself to worry at other times.  Set aside 15 minutes at some point during the day, and worry, worry worry, but don't let youself worry until its time.  It sound zany but works sometimes.

Terri
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thanks for your advice Terri. i will try the tactic of setting aside a specific time to worry. it will be hard but i'll try!

i just wanted to say thank you to you for helping me out with this. i hope that someone else out there is reading this thread as well and getting some help out of it. i know I'm probably annoying you now, with my need for constant reassurance, but i just wanted to check over my understanding to give me some reassurances over this christmas period before i can talk to someone in real life about it all. as i understand:

1) the virus would've been diluted millions of times over in a bath tub full of water so there would not have been enough virus to transmit another person

2) even if there was virus available in the water, it would have needed to be rubbed in or applied with firm pressure (ie. sexual type contact) which would not have happened in this situation

am i correct? are there any other medical or scientific reasons behind this?
sorry to be such a pain seeking reassurances from you here! you have helped me out so much though.

i hope you have a merry xmas and new years. i am looking forward to a new year with less worry!
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55646_tn?1263664409
You are correct.  
Now we are going to stop posting here until you've had an opportunity to speak with the psychologist.  Research show the continually seeking reassurance and getting a response prolongs the time to acceptance.
Enjoy your family!

Terri
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Avatar_f_tn
ok Terri. i understand.

one more question i need to have clear before i speak to the psychologist:

do i have a reason to be worried about sharing a bath with my kids when i had an outbreak or is this all just in my head?
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55646_tn?1263664409
see above
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Avatar_f_tn
ok. my appointment is on january 11th. just in case i try to post before then. i really do want to fix this and move on.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am right there with you when you said that the internet is adding to your anxiety.  It seems like the internet states that everything in the world is possible when it comes to herpes.  Every red mark and bump is apparently herpes these days.  
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Hi terri, i had an appointment with the psychologist and i am feeling a little better about it all. he said that he can definitely help me with this.
one thing that has been on my mind is that i (stupidly) did a search on bathing with children and herpes and i saw that Grace had advised a parent not to bath with their child when they had active lesions. this set of my anxiety a lot (as you could imagine) and i wish i had never done the search :( i am assuming she was worried that there might be some skin to skin contact in the bathtub (as herpes can not be spread through water, right?).
do you think i have any reason to worry here or is this all just in my head?
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Avatar_f_tn
i am feeling really worried and anxious now :(
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Avatar_f_tn
maybe i should just leave this thread here, as i feel that it is adding to me anxiety. might be time to wrap this thread up and for me to leave it alone here. bye
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Avatar_f_tn
sorry, I've calmed down a little now. i was just upset after i read that advice. the psychologist seems to think that my subconscious mind thinks that i have given them genital herpes because i felt so bad for so long about my son breaking out with oral herpes after my outbreak. he thinks that we can do some work on fixing this and calming down my anxiety.
in the meantime, I've decided to do no more internet searches (probably just my subconscious mind looking for definite answers).
Terri, do you think i have any reason to be worried at all? i mean, is there any chance they could've caught this off me? i just feel awful.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Terri, am i allowed to ask you a few more questions on here or have i used up my quota? thanks
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55646_tn?1263664409
First, you don't know if your child has oral herpes.  I feel you don't need to be worried at all.

Terri
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Avatar_f_tn
thanks Terri

over the time when i wasn't posting (before i saw the psychologist) a couple of things happened that i just wanted to clarify with you.
child no. 1 (the one who we suspected that the primary outbreak of oral herpes back in march 2011) had 3 small blisters on his lower lip. these looked a lot like cold sores. they were small and did not bother him too much.
6 days later child no. 2 had a red spot below his lower lip (where the lip meets the facial skin) and it turned into one very small blister and he also had fine paper cut looking things across his lower lip. he still has these now. the blister seemed to pop in a day or so and now he just has a small red spot. it is very mild. i am not too fussed at all about them having oral herpes. from reading on this forum - lots of yours and grace's comments- i have accepted that it is very common and most people have it. its actually not a big deal! my biggest concern is that they could've somehow contracted genital herpes from me, as this i believe would've made their childhood and young adult years very difficult :(
1) do you believe it is possible that they could come out with genital herpes from me bathing with them during an outbreak? do you think i have anything to worry about in this regard?
2) does oral herpes always present itself with a huge primary outbreak (like my child no. 1 had) with swollen lymph nodes and blisters all over the mouth, tonsils, lips etc. or could it just show up with a single small blister on the lower lip (in a 2 year old child)? other than the single blister he is not unwell at all.

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55646_tn?1263664409
1.  No
2.  It varies.

You've got to stop worrying about this, honestly.

Terri
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ok, thanks Terri. I'm feeling a lot better and am happy to leave the thread here. many thanks for your help.
i suspect that child no.2 probably just experienced his first outbreak of oral herpes and i'm ok about it, as it means that he doesn't have it genitally which has always been my number one concern.
thanks again Terri for all your help on the matter, and goodbye :)
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55646_tn?1263664409
You're welcome

Terri
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Terri, sorry can i squeeze in 2 more questions please? I'm going to see the psych today and i read your book last night again in preparation.
i like the way in the book you describe things as zero risk
1. would you say the bathing with outbreak incident was a low risk or a zero risk of transmission?
2. can i shower with my children? they love to get in the shower with me but i am scared that some virus will be washed onto their skin.
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Avatar_f_tn
sorry terri could i please just bump those last two questions and that will be the last of this thread. thanks so much
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55646_tn?1263664409
1.  I would say zero risk.
2.  Yes, you can shower with your children

Terri
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Avatar_f_tn
zero risk is very reassuring. thank you.
one more thing, i am assuming its still ok to bath the 2 kids together (or shower them together) when child 1 has an obvious cold sore?
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hi terri,
sorry i absolutely promise this will be my final question :)
i just have to find out, as my older child has been getting a few cold sores on his lower lip recently:
1. is it zero risk for me to bath the 2 kids together, even when he has an obvious cold sore on his lip? i am assuming it is zero risk but just wanted to hear it from you to be 100% sure.
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55646_tn?1263664409
Your question to me was was it safe to bathe with your child when you had a genital outbreak with concerns about transmitting this to him through water.  This is a slightly different question.  I don't know how much contact your children would have in the bathtub and of what kind, so I don't know exactly how to answer your question.  The virus won't be transferred via the water in a bath but if there is skin to skin contact between the children, virus could be transferred.  

This will absolutely be my last respond on this thread, no matter what else you ask me.  

Terri
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Avatar_m_tn
A related discussion, Accidental Herpes Transmission to a Child was started.
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