Babies, Family and the Holidays
The holiday season is in full force now, and I seem to be fielding a lot of questions from parents of newborns and young infants about what they can and can’t do. So I thought I’d pass along my thoughts to my fellow DS parents and caregivers as well.
Keep in mind that nothing is absolute-- these are just my recommendations and I realize if you have to fly to see family 3,000 miles away, you go. When my oldest was just 3 weeks of age, we flew from Chicago to L.A. because we had to. It wasn’t wintertime, but still, there was the concern of her picking up something along the way. Fortunately, she didn’t.
Since it is the official start of winter and the cold weather has already arrived, here are some of the things I share with the parents of the young ones in my practice…
• This time of year there is an increase in the number of viral upper respiratory illnesses (including but certainly not limited to RSV and flu). And although adults and even older children can handle these illnesses pretty well, the younger ones can have an extremely tough time with them. So with greater exposure to others, there is a greater chance of picking something up.
• If an infant less than 2 months of age develops a fever (anything considered greater than 100.4 F), there is a strong likelihood that the child will need to be admitted to a hospital for a full sepsis work-up…which means blood, urine and even a spinal tap to examine the CSF. Now there is a little leeway for those infants 6 weeks-2 months of age where if there are cold symptoms (runny nose, cough) as well, an admission is not an absolute. But for those typically less than 6 weeks of age, be prepared for at least a 2-3 day hospital stay.
• Vaccinations (AKA immunizations or shots) typically begin anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks of age. But bear in mind, none of these will prevent the typical wintertime viruses. They will help prevent against some very awful and scary illnesses (including whooping cough and meningitis), but the best way for infants to avoid the common cold this time of year is to avoid someone who has it.
• For traveling, what I typically recommend to my families is to try and keep the travel time/distance to a minimum and save it for those who are nearest and dearest to your heart. A new baby will always be the highlight of any family gathering, so just make sure those who are fighting an illness stay clear and make sure everyone washes their hands…twice.
Wishing everyone a healthy and happy holiday season.
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