Is there a new baby in your family? Congratulations! And take extra care: The current outbreak of RSV in the community puts babies at risk of serious illness.
The pediatricians of NH+C give this advice on protecting your newborn from RSV and other contagious illnesses this winter, especially over the holiday season.
- Everyone should wash their hands before holding the baby.
- Anyone with runny nose or cough should stay at least three feet away from the baby.
- Limit the number of people who hold the baby. Never let strangers hold your new baby.
- Over the holidays, don’t gather with people who are sick.
- Visitors should wash their hands when they arrive.
Symptoms of RSV are runny nose, cough, and fever. RSV usually lasts 5-7 days for older kids and adults. For infants and kids under 2, it usually starts to get better after 7-10 days.
Call your pediatrician if your baby is:
- Breathing fast – more than 1 breath per second
- Working hard to breathe in – the skin on the ribs or neck are sucking in with each breath
- Not getting better after 7 days
Go to the Emergency Department for:
- Baby under 2 months with difficult breathing, or fever
- Breathing that worsens at night
RSV is spreading so broadly right now that older siblings are likely to be (or get) sick. It’s hard to keep siblings apart, but it’s the best way to protect your baby.
Siblings with runny nose, cough, fever should not hold or play with the baby. Keep 3 feet apart as much as possible.
If you really want a sick sibling to hold the new baby, have the sibling wear a mask and wash their hands.
Siblings who aren’t sick (yay!) should wash their hands before holding or playing with the baby.
Parents and caregivers
If Mom gets sick and is breastfeeding, she should continue to breastfeed and care for the baby. Her breast milk is giving the baby antibodies (along with any germs) to protect the baby.
If Dad, other parent or caregiver gets sick, they should stay away from the baby until their symptoms are gone.
Best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday season for your family.