Photo Credit vegeta the saiyan, Reddit.com
Hi Medical Mama fans and followers. I want to talk about how easy it is to spread germs to a newborn/baby/young child. I think the number one thing I hear moms with new babies (not to be confused with first time moms) is that everyone seems to think it’s okay to touch a baby’s face, or put their fingers in the baby’s mouth. Gross!
Let’s Make a List:
Don’t touch a baby’s/child’s face.
Don’t touch a baby’s/child’s mouth.
Don’t put your hands or fingers near or in a baby’s/child’s mouth.
Don’t smoke around a baby/child.
Don’t cough or be around a baby/child if you’ve been under the weather at all.
It just amazes me how many people think it’s okay to do these things.
What Do Statistics Say?
I’m glad you asked. This is going to sound like beating a dead horse, but keep in mind you got vaccinated as a child. You are an adult, so your vaccinations have been completed. You are a fully functioning adult with semi good health. No history of diseases or viruses that could be prevented had you not been vaccinated because you were vaccinated completely as a baby (now give your mom a call and thank her). Babies (especially those before 1 year of age) are not able to fight off things that can be prevented from being vaccinated. They have not grown enough to have received all of their vaccinations or developed a fully functioning immune system yet. This is why it is so important that we 1) vaccinate our children, and 2) keep our hands/face/kisses/germs to ourselves.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) hand washing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). That might not seem like a big number to you, but it is to me and anyone else who could potentially die from contracting a respiratory infection. I’ve seen what respiratory infections do to low immune system patients. Washing your hands can save a life.”Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented; More than 50% of healthy persons have Staphylococcus aureus living in or on their nasal passages, throat, hair, or skin; Trachoma, the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide, is related to the lack of facial hygiene” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013).
We have had pediatric patients come in not being able to breathe and have to go to the hospital because of a respiratory infection. My daughter has asthma so badly enough that every time she gets sick any respiratory virus symptoms is exaggerated for her because of her asthma. I have had to take her in to the hospital in the middle of the night because she can’t inhale any air. She can only cough without taking a breath to keep air moving through her body.
If that were your child how would that make you feel if someone came up to your baby and stuck their hands in your child’s mouth? What if when your child got sick it was that bad every single time? You have nails and crevices in your hands and fingers. Think about all the bacteria being harbored there. The nails are the first place that get other people sick. They are hard to wash and keep clean. This is why nurses are required to keep their nails short. There isn’t as much space for the breeding ground of infections, viruses, bacteria, microbes, etc. Please think before you touch someone’s baby. Ask them. More than likely they will say “Yes.” They will not allow you to do things like touch their baby’s face or stick your fingers in the baby’s mouth.
Kissing the Baby
This is a huge one at the hospitals that families visiting immediately wants to do to your newborn baby. Don’t kiss the babies! Some huge issues with kissing babies include cold sores (Herpes Simplex Virus), RSV, food allergies, chemicals on clothes or body, Mono, stomach viruses, whooping cough, and hand foot mouth disease (Ramirez, K., Unknown). I highly encourage everyone to read this article. Let’s also not forget the flu and cold viruses you could be carrying on you (or in your finger nails that you you’ve been sticking in your mouth and touching your face with all day long). In case you were not already aware all of those things mentioned above does have the potential to kill a baby. Just because you don’t “feel sick,” or you don’t “look sick” doesn’t mean you aren’t carrying something. You could have the virus on you and it is not effecting you because you already have the antibodies to fight off this virus. A baby does not, by any means, have any way to fight off these viruses and infections. Their immune systems are not fully developed and functioning yet. They also are not big enough to get all their vaccinations at once.
Smoking Around a Baby
I realize I am more than likely going to get some criticism from this, but let’s be real and talk about smoking. We don’t live in the era where we we’re not educated about smoking and it’s effects on ourselves and others. We live in 2018. We know what smoking does.
Let’s talk specifically about second-hand smoke. “Removing cigarette smoke from a home can reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 80%” (Vaping Daily, 2018). Are you willing to put a baby’s life at risk because you want to light up around baby?
Not to mention all the harm it does to not only your lungs, but to baby’s lungs as well. Again, we know this. This has been researched and followed for decades. It’s not like this is a news flash. Please be considerate and put a baby first. Put their health first.
Being a Smoker and Holding a Baby
This is considered third hand smoke. Just because you don’t smoke around a baby/child does not mean you are not hurting the baby/child. You have smoking residue on your clothes and on your breath. Did you know this will increase the risk of SIDS for that baby? It can be fatal. I am not saying you should change your lifestyle. I am saying though that the baby/child is not choosing to smoke. Change your clothes and take a shower. Wash your hands too. Make sure you scrub all the way down before touching/holding a baby. Don’t put your child in a smoker’s home where this could increase your baby’s risks. The smell also irritates the nasal passages. This makes breathing harder for baby. If the child has asthma that is an even bigger issue.
Please Stop and Think Before You Touch Someone’s Baby!
If you are a family member, friend, distant relative, or you are a stranger who sees an adorable baby please stop and think before you just go touching someone’s child. Think about all the viruses, bacteria, microbes, GERMS you could be carrying on your body. Even if you wash your hands you still have some of those potentially harmful things on your skin. My advice to moms is just keep your baby at home as much as you can for a while. I understand that is not practical, but as a mom you have to do what you can still.
Good luck to all the moms with babies and who are having these issues with others touching their babies. It’s scary taking your baby in public. I understand. Hopefully sharing this article with others will help educate others on the potentially harmful things that people carry on them every day.
As always please share your story below in the comments section. This not only helps other moms, but it helps anyone who is thinking about children as well.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Hygiene Fast Facts. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/fast_facts.html
Ramirez, Kristy. (Unknown). 13 Horrific Reasons Not to Let People Kiss the Baby. Retrieved from https://www.babygaga.com/13-horrific-reasons-not-to-let-people-kiss-the-baby/
Vaping Daily. (2018). The Dangers of Tobacco Use: Daycare Staff and SIDS risk. Retrieved from https://vapingdaily.com/support/newborns-toddlers-health/