Bringing home a new baby involves a lot of new stress. Yes, it is a joyous occasion but there are things that you need to be aware of to prevent your new stress from getting out of hand. Nothing can be more stressful than your new baby catching a cold. They are exposed to a lot of germs because you want to show of your new baby to family & friends. Not only will family and friends look and touch your baby but so will strangers when you are out and about. Little ones are very susceptible to infection in the early weeks of their life. This is especially true for babies born early, because they have underdeveloped lungs and immature immune systems.
We had twin preemies who were 2#5oz and 4#3oz so we know small. We were instructed about a very common respiratory syncytial virus or RSV that was a big threat to them being preemies and those with certain lung and heart diseases—it can lead to a serious respiratory infection. This virus spreads easily, lives on doorknobs, countertops, etc and especially spread through human contact.
Because of these dangers, parents of new babies need to be cautious about exposing infants to visitors. Communicating your concern to family and friends eager to meet your new child is difficult. It is a struggle to be appreciative of people’s excitement and wary of their contact. Don't feel bad asking people to wash their hands and stay away if they have been sick recently.
A few tips to remember when a loved one has a new baby:
- Call before you visit. New parents need time to set up a routine and bond. By giving them time to do so before you visit, you are respecting the new family.
- Postpone a visit if you feel that you may be getting sick, have recently been ill or exposed to illness.
- Offer to do something to ease their responsibilities as they spend time as a family, such as laundry, cooking or dishes. Sleep-deprived moms and dads will appreciate your help!
- Leave toddlers at home, especially during the winter months. Young children, especially if they attend day care or preschool, often carry germs and viruses, like RSV, that are easily spread.
A few facts about RSV that all parents, caregivers and loved ones should know:
- Almost every baby will contract RSV by age 2, but only 1/3 of moms say they’ve heard of the virus.
- Serious RSV infection is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, responsible for more than 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year.
- RSV occurs in epidemics each fall through spring. The CDC has defined “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
- There is no treatment for RSV, so it’s important for parents to take preventive steps to help protect their child (e.g., wash hands, toys, bedding frequently; avoid crowds and cigarette smoke).
- Symptoms of serious RSV infection include: persistent coughing or wheezing; rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths; blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails; high fever; extreme fatigue; and difficulty feeding. Parents should contact a medical professional immediately upon signs of these symptoms.
To learn more about RSV, visit www.rsvprotection.com.