Whether you’re avoiding germs outside your home or you’re the one who’s sick, here’s how to help your baby stay healthy
A few weeks ago, my one-year-old and I flew to visit family out of state. The trip there was relatively smooth, save for a tricky leaky diaper situation, but a couple of days into our stay my throat started to feel like it was lined with sandpaper and I knew that my first cold of the season was officially here. There’s never a “good” time to have a cold, but I hated the prospect of a rockier return flight if my daughter caught it and had to suffer through congestion and painful ear pressure on the plane. As a nurse, I went into germ-prevention mode to avoid getting her sick—and with a lot of diligence (and a little luck), it worked! (As a reward, she treated me to an uneventful ride home.)
Since newborn immune systems aren’t completely mature, they’re especially vulnerable to becoming very ill with viruses that are annoying but otherwise harmless in older kids and adults. When it comes to keeping babies safe from the season’s nastiest respiratory viruses, the good news is you probably already learned some of the key advice when you brought yours home from the hospital: Wash your hands often, pop a bottle of hand sanitizer by the door for visitors, and don’t let anyone who’s ill hang with your baby. But what if you’re the one who’s sick and you still have to take care of them?