Newborns and Holiday Get-Togethers

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dad holding newborn baby

The holidays are often busy with parties and gatherings of friends and families.  These get-togethers are fun, but when you have a newborn they can pose dangerous risks. 

Newborns have a higher incidence of developing serious bacterial illnesses (pneumonia, blood stream infections, urinary tract infections and meningitis) compared to children of older age groups.  They also lack immunity to many other illnesses because they are too young to be vaccinated.  Together, this means that newborns can become very ill when exposed to viruses and bacteria that would otherwise cause minor illness in older children and adults.

It's important to take illnesses in newborns very seriously.  If a newborn develops a fever (rectal temperature of 100.4 or more), they undergo many tests, including a lumbar puncture or spinal tap, to look for the source of infection.  They are also admitted to the hospital for at least 48 hours and receive IV antibiotics.

Having this knowledge is important to help families determine what level of risk is acceptable to them.  There is no way to eliminate all risk but following some simple rules of thumb can help minimize the risk to your baby:

  • Do not let people who are ill touch the baby (even if it is “just a cold”)

  • Everyone who does touch the baby must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer first

  • Minimize exposures to other children as they can be contagious before developing symptoms of illness and can continue to be contagious after their symptoms have resolved

  • Encouraging those who will spend time with your baby to get their influenza vaccine and to be up to date with their Tdap vaccineIf in doubt, stay home

If you have any questions about your newborn, please contact their primary care provider

Enjoy this holiday season and stay healthy!