One of the more frequent fears I come across is from people who are scared that they will pass the virus on to their children or loved ones. I am saddened when I read a discussion where the OP is convinced that they will have to quarantine themselves from their children, that they have to bleach everything after they touch it (especially toilet seats and bathtubs), that they can never kiss their children or snuggle in bed with them on a Sunday morning. And it’s all untrue.
The simple answer is that if you follow common sense and normal sanitary habits you can lead a completely normal family life. For the purposes of this blog, I’m not including your sexual partner in these scenarios.
- Toilet Seats: Assuming you don’t have an OB on your butt cheeks where you come in contact with the seat, you should be completely fine. To be honest, I doubt very much that you could pass it on even *with* an OB on the butt cheeks because the virus doesn’t live long on most surfaces. In order for the virus to pass to another, you generally need a warm, moist environment… a toilet seat is dry and usually cool. If it makes you feel better, wipe the seat with any kind of cleaning wipe if you have an OB on an area that is in contact with the seat… or put a piece of toilet paper under the part that is affected before you sit… otherwise you should be just fine!
- Bathing: We moms often bathe with our babies and dry off together. As far as the bath is concerned, unless you are having an active OB, you should be fine… in fact, you are probably fine with the OB. I have yet to hear of a mother passing H to their child in a bath. I raised 2 daughters and never even thought to worry about it myself and they are both H-. Honestly, between the water and soap the virus doesn’t stand much of a chance of living outside the body. But for your peace of mind, you should probably avoid a bath with an active, open OB. If you have a bath with your child and discover an OB later that day, don’t panic. The chances that you shed anything and it lived in that environment are slim to none.
- Towels: Common sense here. Again the virus shouldn’t survive on the towel, but if you are concerned, dry your child first, then yourself … and dry the H-affected area last. Simple, isn’t it??
- Touching: The bottom line is, you are not a Leper. If you have H on your genitals, that is where you will shed from. If you have it on your mouth, that is where it will shed from. If you are having an OB, normal cleanliness rules apply: wash your hands after you touch the area. Otherwise, hug and cuddle away!
- Kissing: If you have Oral HSV, this is a big question. Again, when it comes to family and friends, common sense prevails. If you have an outbreak, “air kissing” or a light peck from the opposite side from the OB should be fine. Generally the light kiss that you give a friend or loved one should be safe when you don’t have an OB. My policy has been to kiss on my right side most of the time as my oral OB’s are on the left side. It’s a little added insurance … and in 48 years of having Oral Herpes I have yet to pass it on to anyone.
- Sharing drinks: Pretty much the same as with kissing – avoid during OB’s and if you DO share a drink otherwise and want to be cautious, use the side of the mouth that you don’t have OB’s on if you do share a drink.
- Sunday Morning Snuggles: Same kind of common sense applies. If you have genital herpes, that is the only place you will be shedding from. So just make sure you are appropriately covered (sport/boxer shorts are fine) and you will be fine.
So much of this is just plain common sense. Just as you would take extra precautions if you had a cold, or had come in contact with Poison Ivy, or any bacterial infection, if you are having an OB, wash your hands thoroughly after touching the area and keep it covered. Otherwise, normal non-sexual contact is pretty darned safe. My next blog will be about keeping your sexual partner safe. Till then..
Peace Out 🙂