ASK MAYA APA
Dear Maya Apa,
I have a one—month-old baby and I am scared that she might catch a cold this winter season. What can I do to keep my baby healthy?
It is practically inevitable that babies will catch colds in winter, but still one should take some precautions so that your baby does not become too ill.
Most people stricken by winter viruses are contagious before they develop symptoms. So pulling your baby away from a sniffling, coughing, or sneezing person does not guarantee that he/she will not come down with similar symptoms.
There are some practices that one should follow to prevent the germs from attacking your baby-
WASHING HANDS OF YOUR BABY AS WELL AS YOURS
Regular hand washing is the simplest, most effective way to get rid of cold and flu germs. So washing your hands after changing diapers, preparing food or after wiping her runny nose should be an everyday practice. Wash your baby's hands frequently, too — especially before eating (once she is eating solids), and when she comes home from an outing.
BOOST YOUR BABY'S IMMUNITY BY BREASTFEEDING
If you breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first six months, she is likely to develop fewer infections, and recover more quickly from illnesses in the first year of her life.
Ensure your baby's vaccinations are up-to-date. This will protect her from some serious illnesses. There are some seasonal flu vaccines that will protect your baby from two or three of the most common strains of the flu virus in circulation.
KEEP THE ROOM WARM
Maintain a warm temperature in your bedroom throughout winter. Also ensure adequate ventilation.
COVER HER WITH WARM AND COMFORTABLE CLOTHES
Make your baby wear warm and comfortable clothes but do not overdress. Your baby can easily sweat and lose fluids from sitting in a stuffy, sweltering room or because she is wearing too many layers.
MASSAGE YOUR NEWBORN
Massage your newborn especially in the winters to help improve the blood flow and immunity levels. You can use olive oil, almond oil or coconut oil to massage your baby.
AVOID SMOKE EXPOSURE
If a family member has a habit of smoking they should not smoke around the baby; avoid taking your baby to crowded places where people smoke.
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR?
For newborns, a common cold can quickly develop into croup, pneumonia or another serious illnesses. Consult your physician if your baby shows any of the signs below:
-Not feeding properly
-Breathing problems, making strange noises while breathing
-Extremely sleepy or cranky
-Runny nose that does not get better.
I hope the answer helps you to keep your child free from bouts of cold this season.