MAKING PARENTING A SCIENCE & ART

Keeping Germs At Bay from Your Baby

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Keeping Germs At Bay from Your Baby

It was distressing to hear the news of a baby died after contracting meningitis from a kiss a year ago.

Certainly it can be irresistible to witness an arrival of a newborn child — but you really should be thinking twice before touching or kissing or holding an adorable baby.

What will happen when someone touch your little one?

Infants are born with fragile immune systems. When an adult touches the infant’s cheeks, hand, or any part of their skin or even breathes on them, any bacteria or virus they may have will be spread to the infant.  

Research shows that about 70% of all adults in the U.S have the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), the type that is most often associated with oral cold sore outbreaks. Though it's rare, infants can infect the virus from coming into contact with someone who has cold sores. While these outbreaks can be quite benign for adults, the consequences can be severe for infants whose immune systems have yet to develop. There is high risk where the virus can transmit to their liver, lungs, and brain.

3 Pieces of Advice to Hold a Baby:

  1. ...Always wash your hands before touching the baby.
  1. ...If the baby is asleep, do not wake him/her up for your enjoyment.
  1. ...You should never eat or drink over the baby.

So the next time you want to give your friend's baby a cuddle, you may want to think twice — the baby's parent might feel pressured to let you do it. Parents too should be mindful to guard their babies from germs in the first three months -- and if possible, the first six.

For more information about Herpes Simplex Virus in the Newborn, please refer: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/herpes/newborns/fact_sheet.htm

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