When is it Safe to Expose my Newborn to Other People?
By Sara Connolly, MD, FAAP, Board Certified Pediatrician
Be VERY cautious in the first month of life. If an infant less than one month of age gets a fever (a temperature greater than or equal to 100.4), that child needs to be admitted to the hospital, have invasive tests done (including a spinal tap), and receive antibiotics through an IV for at least 48 hours.
The reason we do this to infants who get fevers at this age is that newborns’ immune systems are not well developed yet, and they cannot fight off infections as well as adults and older children. Pediatricians take fevers very seriously in this age group. So, you have to do everything you can to prevent your infant from being exposed to anyone or anything that could cause a fever. That includes minimizing exposure to other people or places that could potentially be carrying germs, such as bacteria or viruses. If Aunt Sue must come to see the new baby, make sure she washes her hands before she touches the baby. It’s a good idea to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy for those situations!
If anyone who wants to visit the baby even has the slightest sniffle, do not allow them to come over. You are simply being a good parent and protecting your little one. If you want to take a stroll in the neighborhood or park, keep your infant covered as best you can and do not allow strangers to touch your baby. Once your infant reaches the one-month mark, you can relax a little bit, but still be vigilant about trying to protect your baby from germs as best you can!
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