We’ve all seen the signs in public washrooms, doctors offices and hospitals but we need to post them at home. After all it’s the number one defense against some illnesses. I’m talking about hand washing. Yes, that simple act of mixing soap with water and vigorously rubbing it on your hands can stop the spread of germs and prevent many illnesses.
One illness hand washing can prevent is RSV. RSV in most of us is a cold but to an infant it can be serious and to a baby that’s got a compromised immune system it can be deadly.
The symptoms of a severe RSV infection.
- Coughing or wheezing that does not stop. (A lot of times the baby will sound like they’re choking) Fast breathing or gasping for breath Spread-out nostrils and/or caved-in chest when trying to breath. (Referred to nasal flaring is when the edges of the nostrils move or widen as the baby’s trying to breath. Retractions are when the middle of the chest or area at the bottom of the breast bone pulls in with each breath. Sometimes the area between the ribs will pull in)
- A bluish color around the mouth or fingernails (This is caused by a lack of oxygen)
- A fever (In infants under 3 months a fever greater than 100.4 rectally is a cause for concern)
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It’s common sense not to take a newborn or immunosuppressed infant around crowds and anyone with a cold, especially young children but what can you do in your own home.
- Wash your hands OFTEN. Wash your hands before touching the baby, after coughing or sneezing, after touching a doorknob or any other surface. Make others in the home do the same, even visitors
- Ask visitors to call before coming over and if they’re sick ask them to reschedule their visit until they’re well
- Do not allow smoking in your home or near the baby
- Wash your baby’s toys, clothes and bedding OFTEN
I can’t stress enough how important hand washing is. After a virus outbreak at the hospital I worked with I was selected to take a class in proper hand washing and then educate other staff members. Yes, according to the CDC there is a correct way to wash your hands.
- Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap
- Make a lather by rubbing your hands together and scrub them well making sure to scrub the back of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
- Continue rubbing your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands well under running water
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry
If soap and water aren’t available you can use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. This can quickly reduce the number of germs but do NOT eliminate all types of germs . They are also not effective on hands that are visibly dirty. Before you ask there is a correct way to use a hand sanitizer.
- Apply to the palm of your hand
- Rub hands together
- Continue rubbing the sanitizer over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.
For more information on RSV go to RSVProtection.com
“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”