The holidays are upon us and that means friends and family will be gathering to share love, laughter, and LOTS of germs!!
With flu running rampant, and RSV cases rising daily in emergency rooms across the country, these fun-filled gatherings can be a breeding ground for infections that present a severe threat to your NICU baby.
How can you keep your NICU baby healthy during the holidays? We want to keep you and your little one healthy and happy all winter long, so we’ve put together a list of preventative tips to protect your family.
Here are 5 things you should do to stay healthy during the holidays:
1. Get Vaccinated
Do vaccines help protect your NICU baby? You bet! If you haven’t gotten your annual flu shot or the latest covid booster, now is the time! It takes a few weeks for your body to build up immunity after a vaccination, so don’t wait to get that extra layer of protection for you and your children. (Consult with your pediatrician to see what vaccines are recommended for your children)
2. Wash Up!
Hand washing is your first line of defense against germs. Get in the habit of washing your hands regularly, especially after touching high-contact surfaces where germs can linger. You don’t have to use antibacterial soap, regular soap and warm water will do the trick as long as you wash for at least 20 seconds.
3. Keep Your Distance
Should you allow visitors during the holidays if you have a NICU baby? If your baby has recently graduated from the NICU, there will likely be lots of people anxious to meet your new arrival. Their excitement is touching, but it’s best to avoid ACTUAL touching! Stay home as much as possible, and consider introducing your child through Zoom or FaceTime for now. When you do have to go out, limit your baby’s contact with other people. It’s fine for others to take a peek (from a safe distance!), but ask them to forgo hugs, kisses, or touching baby’s hands.
4. Monitor Your Health
If your baby is still in the NICU the last thing you want to do is bring germs when you visit. Wash your hands, wear a mask, and consider changing into a clean shirt when you arrive for extra protection. If you’re not feeling well- even if your symptoms are minor- stay home until you’re completely symptom-free. Even a basic cold can wreak havoc on an underdeveloped immune system, so it’s best to take all precautions to keep your child healthy.
5. Ask Friends and Family to Help
If you’re gathering with your nearest and dearest, it’s a good idea to be extra careful! Ask your friends and family to mask up indoors or consider moving the festivities outdoors if the weather permits. And be sure to have plenty of hand sanitizer around for everyone to use.
We hope your holiday season will be filled with happiness and good health!