Photo by Toby Melville

As millions of Americans prepare to spend the holidays with their families this holiday weekend, doctors have issued a strong warning not to kiss babies.

According to Channel 2 Action News, Acworth mom Julie Gamull is still sharing her son John's story from seven years ago. She urges parents to be careful who you let pick up and kiss your baby.

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"People don't want to hurt great granny's feelings or uncle so and so's feelings. It's about protecting the baby. It's not about getting your snuggles and stuff," Gamull told Channel 2 Action News.

She says John almost died from a respiratory virus he caught from a family member one Thanksgiving.

"He was born November 13, so we already had friends and relatives in for Thanksgiving not thinking anything of it. Nobody looked like they were sick."

In fact, Gamull didn't even know John was sick until she took him in for a checkup. That checkup turned into a Life Flight to Egleston Hospital. John was having trouble breathing.

"We almost thought he couldn't make it. We had a priest come in and give him last rites."

Jon was diagnosed with a respiratory infection caused by the RSV virus.

"RSV is really common, especially this time of year," said Dr. Matt Linam, associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Emory and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Linam said for adults, RSV can feel like a common cold, but for babies, it can be very serious.

"Often, these infants come into the hospital and they need IV fluids because they get dehydrated and they need oxygen because they're having trouble keeping it up on their own. So they can be pretty sick," Linam said.

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He explained that anyone can spread these harmful germs to babies by simply touching them or breathing on them.

"Often, these infants come into the hospital and they need IV fluids because they get dehydrated and they need oxygen because they're having trouble keeping it up on their own. So they can be pretty sick," Linam said.

He explained that anyone can spread these harmful germs to babies by simply touching them or breathing on them.

That's why Gamull shares John's story every holiday as a precautionary tale.

"Don't be afraid of hurting somebody's feelings because I think that was probably my fault," Gamull said.

"I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. 'Of course you can hold the baby.' But now that I've been unfortunately on this other side, I would definitely use a lot more caution."

Thankfully, John is now a healthy and happy 7-year-old, according to WSB-TV.

Doctors caution travelers to wash your hands frequently, and avoid kissing babies.

Moms say ask for permission to hold their child and if you think you may be sick, stay home.

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