Dad Warns Parents: Wash Your Hands Before Holding Your Baby, Here’s Why

August 9, 2019 Updated: August 14, 2019

How many times has it happened to you? A friend or family member or maybe even a co-worker just can’t get over how cut your baby is. Which makes sense, because they’re absolutely adorable! So of course, you let them hold your little one for a couple of minutes while you make a phone call or get the car seat ready.

But have you ever wondered if the person who’s touching your child might have some serious germs or even a virus? Or, on a more basic level, if they have been regularly washing their hands that day?

"3 weeks ago she was admitted to the hospital with viral meningitis. She got over that in a few days since it was a…

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Well for one Tennessee father, the issue became pretty terrifying when his little daughter was admitted to the hospital in desperate condition. As he posted on Imgur, the trouble all began when his daughter came down with viral meningitis. Babies and toddlers are at particular risk for this disease because of their relatively weak immune systems.

After being treated for several weeks, his “little fighter” got over the meningitis pretty quickly, which thankfully was a “light case.” But that wasn’t the end of this poor little girl’s struggles—she somehow caught RSV (respiratory syncytial Virus).

This virus targets the lungs and breathing passages. For healthy people, it appears very similar to a common cold. For those like the young girl from Tennessee who have been dealing with sickness, it can cause extreme difficulties in breathing and open the door to much deadlier diseases like pneumonia.

But where could the RSV have come from? The virus is easily spread in droplets from sneezing or coughing, and especially from improper hand-washing. Since babies interact with the world by touching and putting things in their mouths, any contact with the virus can quickly lead to infection.

RSV

As for the little girl from Tennessee, the RSV came very close to taking her life. “As soon as the pediatric team arrived at the hospital to pick her up, she flatlined,” as her father wrote on Imgur. “They revived her and put her on a ventilator immediately.” As the virus had compromised her immunity, she contracted “a severe case of pneumonia, type h flu, bronchiolitis, and [suffered] a partially collapsed right lung.”

Eventually, with the help of the outstanding pediatrics team at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, the girl recovered. At the time, her dad wrote in a post: “she is off of everything but her oxygen. And she’s only on that for comfort. She has beaten so many odds this past week and made me even more proud to call her my daughter.”

But while this story had a happy ending, the girl’s father wanted to send out a warning to other parents of small children about the dangers of RSV. “[The virus] is no joke. I didn’t know much about it until a week ago when it almost took my daughter from me. Please make sure to wash your hands before handling little ones.”

Illustration – Unsplash | Curology

According to WebMD, there are plenty of things you can do to help your baby avoid falling victim to this disease. Here are five terrific ways to prevent the spread of RSV in your family.

  • Wash your hands often, especially after contact with anyone who has cold symptoms.
  • Clean and disinfect hard surfaces.
  • Only let people touch your baby after they wash their hands.
  • Keep your baby away from crowds.
  • If possible, keep your baby away from anyone, including older brothers or sisters, who has cold symptoms.

While these basic hygiene measures might not seem like much, they can make all the difference when it comes to the health of the most important person in your life.

Illustration – Shutterstock | lavizzara

Unfortunately, the father in Tennessee wasn’t the only one who nearly lost his baby. As the video below shows, RSV regularly threatens babies across the country.

So be aware. The next time someone tries to touch your baby, make sure they aren’t inadvertently putting your baby’s life in jeopardy.

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