Your baby’s first months. You aren’t thinking about germs or RSV. No, no. These Are Exciting Times!
Then without so much as a care, you bring your child to the first family event, and like blood-thirsty zombies, everyone mindlessly attacks the baby stroller without even so much as a “G’day Mate!!” to you!
Everyone is so eager to hold, cuddle, and kiss your precious bundle of joy. Yeah, it’s cute.. But as much as it is a social bonding experiment, it is also a serious freaking germ fest.
Make Mom Wash Her Damned Hands!
It may be going too far in some circles to ask people just arriving from, say, an airport or hospital, to “Curb your enthusiasm and wash those paws grandma!”
Babies are small, innocent, and pure. They’re pink, precious, and with a perfectly clean life slate. The idea that your friend or relative could be harming a sweet little baby would make them bristle, especially if that harm were to come from something as simple as wanting to hold the new addition with their hands.
What people don’t think about, however, is that we carry approximately 332,000 distinct bacteria on our hands every day according to a study done by the University of Colorado. Within those germs is potential for disease, and while adults have an easier time fighting off such monstrous ailments like pneumonia and the flu, those who have just broken into this world are not so equipped in defense against malicious bacteria.
Their immune systems are weak, still developing, and and in some cases, fighting off a bad virus is literally a life or death fight. Imagine a your child suffering from a disease they caught too early in their immune system development. Are the 60 seconds it takes to make sure new arrivals (or even yourself) wash their hands good insurance against the potential of your little one suffering?
Perhaps if you see that Father-In-Law coming at their grandchild with grubby paws you can just go all Matrix-y on him.
This could help your family avoid what happened to the father in the story below.
RSV Can Deadly To Babies
A super sad story posted by a loving father to Imgur from Tennessee whose baby caught the terrible RSV is just one example of how serious the spreading of germs and diseases can be to our smallest members of society.
Many people don’t know much about RSV, an illness that can be fatal to infants as described by the CDC because it manifests in mild cold symptoms in adults.
In children, especially those under the age of one, it is a life-threatening illness that brings on bronchitis and pneumonia. The way this highly contagious disease is spread is by little droplets which cling to any surface it can find.
That includes door handles, telephones, the sticky nose of a little nose, and most commonly; your hands. Of all the many health benefiting reasons to be proactive about washing up, the care of little ones is one of the immediate things that needs to be talked about.
How To Avoid RSV
In order to do what you can to keep your baby from getting RSV one should:
1. Wash hands OFTEN (a familiar refrain throughout this article)
2. Disinfect hard surfaces with Lysol or an alcohol based cleaner
3. ONLY LET PEOPLE TOUCH BABY AFTER WASHING THEIR HANDS (This means you Grandma!)
4. Anyone with cold symptoms (including You) must avoid kissing Baby.
5. Avoid crowds if possible (also awesome advice in case of zombie attacks)
Potential RSV Symptoms in Baby
Per WebMD, if you notice that your child has cold-like symptoms (cough, runny-nose) be ready to head to the doctor if you also notice:
1. Trouble breathing
2. Cough with yellow, green, or gray mucus
3. That your child is unusually upset or (worse) inactive
4. They exhibit signs of dehydration (no-tears while crying, low levels of urine over 6 hrs)
5. Refusal to breastfeed or bottle-feed
6. Rapid breath and blue tint to lips and fingernails means you should go now!
In addition to RSV, there are plenty of other diseases we need to worry about that are lingering out there that could infect newborns and young children. Diseases such as whooping cough, influenza, and even the so-called common viruses such as strep can be life-threatening to infants.
It is important to make sure that you bundle babies up for cold weather and keep everything they can touch or chew on sanitized as much as possible. It’s impossible to avoid every single bug that could come in contact with a newborn, but taking measures to prevent the spreading of diseases is something that every one of us can do without much effort.
If we think about the things we touch, we’ll realize how disgusting the surface of our hands must be if we went without washing them.
Now, imagine taking all of that and putting it all over a newborn baby.When looked at from this angle, it’s really no surprise that babies get sick easily.
People around you need to feel your wrath if they are not more proactive about using hand sanitizer and fully washing whenever they come in from a public environment or have gotten their hands potentially sooty and covered with bacteria and germs.
If You Really Want To Get Nit-Picky
For those who really want to get scientific about it, the CDC has a comprehensive guide on the most effective ways to wash one’s hands, so once you educate everyone on proper technique, then you can feel free to let them cuddle those sweet little babies without worrying about where those damned dirty fingers have been.
Let that Dad from Tennessee who nearly lost his daughter to RSV serve as a reminder that there are infants all over the world battling infectious disease that have been introduced by overzealous friends and family.
Risk to your family can be reduced if you tell folks to make a few small changes to help keep your baby clean and clear of unnecessary diseases. Even just an extra hand-washing or two or a spritz of hand sanitizer could mean the difference to your newborn treasure.
Aside from hand-washing, there are also sprays and disinfectants that can be used around your home and workplace to help prevent the spreading of bacteria. Make an effort to give your bathroom a regular cleaning, or go through and wipe down the door knobs and remotes in your house to give you an even sharper edge against disease.
Don’t forget that toys, and high chairs should be sanitized after and in between their use, especially from child to child as would be found in a day care facility. When it comes down to it, it’s worth the extra work it takes to keep all hands and the baby’s environment as clean and healthy as possible.
So get out there and arm yourself and your baby against the invading hordes of the unwashed masses!