Protecting your baby this holiday season
As COVID-19 continues to spread in the community, parents with newborns may want to be more careful about how they introduce their infant to the world, particularly over the holiday season.
Some newborn infants who test positive for COVID have mild or no symptoms. But because of an immature immune system and small airways, if babies under the age of 1 contract the virus, they are at higher risk for severe illness and complications than older children.
Symptoms of COVID in babies include:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose or cough
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
Dr. Mike Cappello, a neonatologist at Advocate Children’s Hospital, has some tips for new parents for preventing COVID this Thanksgiving.
- Consider staying home and avoiding large gatherings with a new baby. Instead, introduce the baby virtually to family and friends
- Avoid passing the baby around, even in a small group setting.
- When handling the infant, everyone should wash their hands well and each time they have contact with them.
- If someone is sick in the household, including older children, wear a mask (inside the home, as well), and avoid contact with the newborn as much as possible.
- Because babies under age 2 cannot wear masks:
- If you need to take the baby outside in a car seat, cover the outside of the car seat loosely with a blanket — never over the baby.
- Be sure to clean the car seat carefully each time you return home.
- Keep all surfaces, cell phones and counters in the home frequently disinfected.
If a parent is concerned their baby is not feeling well or may have been exposed to COVID, contact your pediatrician or seek medical care promptly.
Dr. Cappello says these are the very best ways to protect your infant in a pandemic environment.
About the Author
Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!