A Teesside mum has issued a stark warning over kissing children as her one-year-old daughter was left fighting for her life in hospital.
Zoe Picknett told how her beautiful daughter Teddy was rushed to hospital on February 1.
The 16-month-old has remained in the Great North Children’s Hospital, in Newcastle, for almost four-weeks and has suffered two strokes, a bleed on the brain and a fit on the left side of her body.
The Redcar mum told of her shock after her perfectly healthy little girl was left battling the deadly herpes virus.
The toddler, who was usually talking and “running about”, will also have to learn to speak again.
Zoe, 24, said: “I thought it was a flu sort of thing.
“On the Saturday before, I took her to Redcar Primary Care Hospital because her hands and feet were blue and freezing cold but her body was red hot.
“They thought she was fine and said to just take her home.”
Over the weekend, the usually happy baby was sleeping and wouldn’t eat or drink.
However, things took a turn for the worst on Monday as the mum-of-one described her daughter as “floppy” and “not her usual self”.
She phoned her GP, explaining the situation, and paramedics were sent out to her home address. Teddy was examined and Zoe told she was “fine”.
But Zoe, who lives with her mam and brothers, left her for one hour but knew something wasn’t right.
She rushed Teddy to James Cook University Hospital A&E where she was seen immediately.
“They took us to a room and I thought they’d give her antibiotics overnight and she’d be ok by tomorrow.
“But she had a fit on the left side of her body.
“They took her for a CT scan and found a tiny bleed on the brain that’s when they explained we need to go to Newcastle’s Great North Children’s Hospital.
“It was late on Monday night and early hours of Tuesday morning when they blue-lighted us up to Newcastle.”
Teddy spent one and a half weeks in ICU where more CT scans and an MRI were carried out.
“They told me if I waited one more hour I could have lost her,” she said.
The tests revealed the 16-month-old had suffered a stroke and lost the ability to speak.
“She used to know loads of words,” Zoe said.
“Now we’ve got to help her re-learn them or learn sign language.”
Carer Zoe has spent almost four-weeks at the Newcastle hospital with her daughter as no visitors are allowed due to covid-19 restrictions.
She told how it has been “hard sitting and watching them doing tests” and has been “very difficult” but has received a lot of support from home.
The family were given the diagnosis of HSV-1, cold sore or herpes virus, just over one-week after Teddy was admitted into the hospital.
‘I won’t wish this on my worst enemy’
Zoe bravely told of her “shock” over how the virus affects children under five.
She said: “This is all because of a cold sore from someone kissing her when they’re just getting over one, or just getting one, or even drinking out of someone’s cup.
“I didn’t know it could affect kids until they are five years old so please for people who have kids just be careful.
“I won’t wish this on my worst enemy.”
Zoe said Teddy is now walking again and is set to finish her medication for the infection on Monday.
The family are hoping to return to the Dormanstown home next week, although Teddy will still require a feeding tube.
However, medics hope she will make a full recovery.