Can I avoid passing on my cold or flu to my baby?

You’ve come down with a virus, and you’d give anything to keep your baby from getting sick too. Is there anything you can do? We asked a paediatrician.

By Dina Kulik November 12, 2018

I’m sick and am worried about passing on the illness to my baby. What can I do?

The truth about viruses is that they are usually pretty contagious even before you have symptoms. That’s why viral illnesses are always going around. And even if you know you’re sick, you still have to care for your baby, so there’s definitely a chance you’ll pass it along. Most illnesses are not dangerous, but more of a nuisance, and only last a few days. Still, you can avoid passing on germs by washing your hands frequently and avoiding sneezing or coughing near your baby. (I know, easier said than done.) And if you are breastfeeding, your breastmilk has excellent antibodies to reduce the risk of your child getting sick. If your baby does get a virus, they should recover within a week or less. If your baby is under two months of age and has a fever, please see your doctor—at this age, their bodies can’t fight serious bacterial infections so well.


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