Thursday, October 30, 2014
Wednesday, May 21, 2008 madas7734, Community Member, asks

Q: can I give herpes to my child

I am a single parent we use the same bathroom and my son is really big on playing in my bathwater when I am in it, eventually I just give up on trying to relax and let him have my bathwater...what if I have an outbreak can I spread it this way or by kissing him (not that he likes kisses much anymore but he still does kiss me on occasion)  what about using the same toliet when I have an outbreak, we only have one?

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Answers (1)
Penelope James, Health Guide
6/12/08 2:20am

Hi madas,

Thanks for your question.  I'm not a doctor, and have not done scientific research on the matter, so I am no authority on this.  But I do have herpes and think I can help answer your question.

It's my understanding that the herpes virus does not live outside of the body very long and cannot be directly transmitted through water.  It needs much more intimate contact to be transmitted (hence why it's part of the "sexually-transmitted diseases" family).  So I don't think you need to worry about sharing a toilet seat with your son or sharing bathwater when you aren't having symptoms.  However, if you are having an outbreak, I would probably avoid sharing bathwater just as a precaution.  

It sounds to me like you have genital herpes, or do you have oral herpes as well?  If you only have genital herpes, then you needn't worry about giving your son herpes by kissing him.  If you do have oral herpes, you may want to treat it like the bathwater situation.  

I recommend you speak to a doctor to clear up any doubts you have about infecting your son.  It's nice to see that you are so concerned about him, but you may be overreacting a bit.  A doctor can tell you more specifically in what ways you may be putting your son at risk, but I suspect that there are few (if any).

In the meantime, you may want to check out the herpes Transmission page as well as the Herpes Causes and Risk Factors section.  You may also want to read Dr. Grayson's Sharpost "How to Protect the Ones You Love".  


Good luck!



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By madas7734, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/13/12, First Published: 05/21/08