Sunday, February 23, 2014

Protecting Your Baby When You're Sick

RSV season is on full alert. Not only are premature babies at risk of becoming infected with RSV, but so are older children. While the symptoms may be similar to a cold for some, more than 125,000 children under the age of four are hospitalized due to this infection each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

RSV is a major cause of lower respiratory infections and hospital visits for children. For those with preemies who meet certain medical requirements, it is vitally important for them to get the Synagis shot during the RSV season -- and to be protected from situations in which the virus could be spread. According to the CDC, “People infected with RSV are contagious for 3 to 8 days and in some with weakened immune systems, as long as 4 weeks."

My husband and I are doing our very best to keep Emily from getting sick. I am a stay-at-home mom and am with Emily each and every day. I try to keep Emily away from everyone except her dad and her doctor. Emily and I don’t go out for anything except her pediatric doctor appointments and, if necessary, a quick trip to the grocery store. It may seem extreme, but Emily went through so much as a one pound eight ounce preemie that we would rather be over-protective of her well-being than put her at risk.

Although we have taken as many precautions as possible, both Craig and I have gotten sick this year. Two weeks ago, I went to lunch with a friend (who happens to be pregnant with her first baby). I used hand sanitizer before and after our meal, but still got sick the very next day. I had an upset stomach and nothing would stay down. I'm not sure if I caught some sort of bug, or if something I ate just didn't agree with my tummy. 

During my sickness, my primary concern wasn't myself, but Emily. I'd hate to pass on some type of illness to her, particularly given her compromised immune system. Thankfully, Craig's workplace was very accommodating. He was able to stay home to care for Emily for one day -- while I was sick and recuperating. I kept myself isolated, and only ventured out to the bathroom to throw up. Craig returned to work the following day, so I made sure to wear a mask and gloves when I took over Emily’s care. 

Our over-protectiveness may seem silly, but it worked. Emily stayed healthy. Now, not quite two weeks later, Craig is sick. Of course, Craig goes to work every day and may have come into contact with something there. He is in isolation today and is making sure to stay away from Emily. He will be wearing a mask for a few days too. 

Medical Supply Pantry

In order to protect Emily from any illness that may be circulating in our home, we have a medical pantry full of protective items. These items have come in handy when I've been feeling sick -- and have also been useful for family visitors with upset stomachs. My medical pantry includes the following items:

Surgical Face Masks with Ear Loops

I find that surgical masks with ear loops are easier for me to put on than tie-on masks. In addition, masks with ear loops tend to stay in place (covering my nose and mouth) much better than tie-on masks.

Examination Gloves

I also keep examination gloves on-hand.

Hand Sanitizer

We have hand sanitizer in just about every room of the house. I try my best to use sanitizer in-between and following hand-washing with soap and water.
Disinfectant Wipes

We keep disinfectant wipes in the kitchen and bathrooms and use them to clean counters.

Disinfectant Spray

We also store cans of disinfectant spray throughout the house. We use the spray on commonly touched items, like baby gate locks; door knobs; and fabrics, such as pillows.

Vitamin C

We prefer Gummy Vitamin C -- just because!


We keep Emergen-C packets on-hand. The packets are convenient and can easily be added to water.
Key Tips

Below are a few tips that may help protect your baby from illness:

-Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, as RSV is viable for 30 minutes or more on your hands.
-Cover your coughs and sneezes.
-Use Lysol or other disinfectant spray that helps kill viruses and bacteria on commonly touched surfaces in your home, such as counters, bedding, and the air. (RSV is viable up to five hours on countertops and other hard surfaces.)
-Use disinfectant wipes on door knobs, drawer pulls, counters, and telephones.
-Wash your child’s toys, clothes and bedding often.
Keep- your child away from or limit exposure to crowds.

If your child is in a day care:

-Make  sure your child is eating healthy foods to keep the immune system strong.
the staff about their hand-washing policy and if they are using hand sanitizer on a regular basis. 
-Learn about the facility's sick policy for children and daycare staff. Many parents will send sick children to school -- so obtain information about the sick policy and if it is enforced. 
-Make sure the day care requires all children to be immunized before attending.
-Make sure the day care staff has had its TDAP shots.
-Make sure the daycare is licensed and accredited. 

What do you do to try to  protect your baby from illness?  What types of protective items do you keep in your medical pantry?

1 comment:

  1. It is better to be overprotective of a high risk infant than to be lax about health issues. You are doing a great job. By the way, the Lysol spray you show is a great price!