Wash Your Hands! How to Keep Your Baby Safe From Cold and Flu

May 18, 2020

Wash Your Hands! How to Keep Your Baby Safe From Cold and Flu

Of the deaths that occur in children under the age of five, 41% of these are in the first 28 days of a baby's life.

At this age, babies are extremely vulnerable to illness. What may be a common cold to us can be a life-threatening condition for a newborn baby. This statistic is alarming for many new parents who just want to keep their babies safe!

Don't worry, there are plenty of ways to keep your little ones safe from a cold. The following are a few tips:

Ask Visitors to Wash Their Hands

When you have a newborn baby, it's no secret that all your friends and family are going to want to stop by.

While it's exciting to introduce your new addition to the rest of your loved ones, this is where a host of germs can affect your baby. Before allowing friends and family to hug, hold, or touch your baby, it's important that they wash their hands first.

To avoid passing their germs, ask them to properly wash their hands before touching your baby. This will reduce the risk of your baby being exposed to harmful bacteria.

Make Sure Your Visitors Are Vaccinated

One of the most harmful medical conditions to a baby is whooping cough, or "pertussis."

Make sure that your visitors are vaccinated with not only the whooping cough vaccine but all necessary vaccines as well. Even if they don't plan on touching the baby, they can spread germs by coughing or sneezing.

To prevent any cold or sickness to your newborn baby, ask all visitors and caregivers to be up to date on vaccines.

Keep Hand Sanitizer on You at All Times

If you're going out in public, you can't be careful enough.

With so many surfaces to touch and people coming and going, keeping hand sanitizer on you is essential. If you touch a can of green beans on the counter to put in your cart, you have no idea who else came into contact with the same can! If you touch your baby after that, you have no idea what you could be passing on to them.

For example, if someone has a virus and touches a surface, that virus can live on that surface for days or even weeks! If you walk by and touch your mouth or your baby's face, you could potentially expose your child to viruses and/or harmful bacteria.

So, keep hand sanitizer on you and use it whenever you touch or pick up your little one after touching public surfaces.

If You're Able To, Breastfeed Your Baby

While not everyone has the ability to breastfeed their baby, if you can, take advantage of it.

Breastfeeding is going to provide your baby with the antibodies and immune system boost to fight off sickness. While the antibodies aren't going to lessen the chances of your baby getting sick, it will help protect him/her in the event that it does happen.

Try to Limit the Time You Spend in Public with Your Baby

While washing your hands and using hand sanitizer in public are helpful, try to limit the amount of time your baby spends in public.

This is one of the best ways to avoid a baby cold because they aren't being exposed to new viruses or bacteria at home. People don't always wash their hands in public and they may sneeze or cough into the open air.

Even if you practice cautionary measures, your child will be vulnerable in public spaces.

Stay Away from Sick People

This one may seem obvious, but many of us don't think to isolate babies from sick people.

This includes you and your spouse. If your spouse has a bad cold, cough, or flu, consider staying with a healthy family member until your spouse has healed. While it can be difficult to separate as a family for a few days, sometimes it's a necessary sacrifice.

The first few months of a baby's life are some of the most vulnerable. Their immune systems are much weaker than ours, so we must take the steps to protect them from sickness. If you have a friend or relative coming over to see your baby, make sure they're healthy before entering your home as well.

Don't Save Unfinished Formula or Milk

Whether you breastfeed or give your baby formula, it's important to dispose of any unfinished milk.

This is because bacteria from the baby's saliva can get into the bottle, contaminating the entire supply. This same rule of thumb applies to baby food. If you don't feel confident that they will finish the entire jar of food, place a small amount in a bowl and store the rest.

Additionally, don't leave formula out for more than an hour un-refrigerated. Breast milk can be left out for up to six hours, as they contain antibodies that fight off bacteria.

Keep in Close Contact with Your Pediatrician

If your child does get sick or show symptoms of illness, it's important to stay in contact with your pediatrician.

They can walk you through which symptoms to look out for and when they should be brought in. Many parents get nervous about symptoms of illness and end up taking a trip to the emergency room out of caution. To avoid this, keep your pediatrician updated on your child's condition.

Talk to them throughout the day when your baby begins showing symptoms. If necessary, bring them in. Right now, especially with the rise of COVID-19, it's important to keep babies away from medical buildings unless they absolutely must go.

How Will You Practice Preventative Measures?

Preventing a baby from being exposed to harmful viruses and bacteria is the most crucial part of keeping them safe.

Coming into contact with infected people or surfaces can be detrimental to their health. Practice the steps listed above to keep your little ones safe.

If you found this article helpful, please check out our other blog content!