It all began at Sienna Duffield’s second birthday party. Her mother, Savina French-Bell, let a family member kiss her toddler on the face. Soon after, Sienna broke out in blisters.
“It started to look like someone had thrown acid over her face,” the mom recalled. “It spread from her mouth to her cheeks and above her eyes. People would give us horrible looks. Children would stare, and adults would make nasty comments.”
Doctors worked tirelessly to figure out what was the cause of the bloody skin infection. Little did they know that the key was in that simple kiss.
“For eight months, no antibiotics were working, as the infection kept coming back, and her face was being ravaged,” Savina said. “I was told she may have allergies to something, so I kept her away from pets and made sure she no longer consumed any dairy products.”
It was up to Sienna’s mother to solve the mystery of her illness. Doctors couldn’t come up with any potential explanations beyond allergies or eczema. Prescription antibiotics and eczema creams did not work. Meanwhile, the blisters were so severe, they bled onto the little girl’s clothes and bed sheets.
“Sienna was being eaten alive by her skin infection,” Savina told Inside Edition. “It came out of nowhere on her second birthday, when she started developing ulcers in her mouth. She stopped eating, and every day — for eight months — was horrific. There was always blood on her clothes, and I was scared to take her outside.”
One day, the mystery came into focus.
“I realized that she kissed a family member last year, which brought on the infection,” Savina said. “Everyone in the family was distraught.”
Sienna was finally diagnosed with herpes simplex type 1.
Once doctors realized what the real issue was, they were able to treat her. Savina says her daughter’s skin looks clearer than ever.
“There is always a chance of it coming back, but, fingers crossed, it won’t happen, and her skin will stay as good as it is now. It’s great to be able to go outside and not get any horrible comments from anyone.”
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