GOLDEN, Colo.: Omicron has proven to be a variant that’s relenting. With different variants emerging throughout the pandemic, this particular strain is infecting our children at alarming rates.
Mask guidance has changed, and the best protective masks are available for children two years of age and older, but what about children under two, particularly babies? This is a significant concern for parents because babies under one are most vulnerable due to their immature immune systems.
This article will discuss the symptoms to look for with your little ones and ways to protect babies from Omicron.
Symptoms to Watch For in Babies
Before COVID entered our lives, whenever my babies seemed a little off or had a low-grade fever, I just kept an eye on them and didn’t think much of it. My pediatrician always told me that if their temperature got to 100.5 and they refused to eat or drink, it was time to bring them in. However, COVID, particularly Omicron, isn’t something to brush off as a possible cold when it comes to our kids under two.
Doctors recommend that any form of cough, fever, vomiting, or symptom that shows they’re sick shouldn’t be ignored. A rash that appears on the chest and back is a sign doctors see in young children, especially babies. If you notice a rash or any skin discoloration, it’s highly encouraged to call your pediatrician to bring them in immediately. Don’t self-medicate unless directed by your kids’ doctor.
Newborns and infants can’t communicate when they’re feeling sick, so we parents must pay attention to anything that seems off. I know that we’re all very cautious with our little ones, even before the virus arrived. I also know that there are times when we feel we may be jumping to conclusions and don’t want to call for every little thing. When it comes to our kids, don’t ever feel like you need to apologize for being concerned when they seem ill. With Omicron affecting our kids at alarming rates, babies are most vulnerable because they can’t speak for themselves and have weak immune systems. Call your pediatrician if you notice any symptoms and how best to handle the situation.
Ways to Protect Babies from Omicron
After knowing the symptoms to look out for in babies, let’s talk about ways to prevent and protect them from the highly contagious Omicron.
Wearing a mask around your baby may seem a little much, but this is one of the best ways to protect their immune systems. This is especially true if you feel you may be coming down with something. If you have friends and family that would love to meet the newest member of the family, ensure they wear a mask while over and are symptom-free of anything. If you’re unsure of others being fully healthy when they come over, ask them to take a COVID test beforehand. With the availability of rapid and at-home tests, it’s quick and easy and will give you peace of mind when having others in your home.
2. Hand Washing
I know this may seem a little obvious, but washing your hands frequently will help stop the spread of germs. This goes for anyone coming and going from your home. If you’re handling food, cleaning products, or any everyday household items, be sure to wash your hands before touching anything belonging to your baby or picking them up. Use hand sanitizer and ask others to do so when you feel comfortable enough to have others meet your baby.
Ensuring you have proper ventilation in your baby’s room is of paramount importance. Keep your baby in a room with space, the ability to open the window when the weather permits, and an air purifier. My son currently has an air purifier in his room due to allergies, and it has done wonders. When my kids were little, I always kept one in the room they slept in to ensure proper ventilation and clean air quality. You’d be surprised how well they work!
4. Avoid Large Gatherings
Depending on your baby’s age, try to avoid areas or spaces where it’s hard to social distance. With newborns and infants having immature immune systems, they can catch anything floating around the air or person-to-person. With Omicron being extremely transmittable, it’s best to avoid large gatherings. It may be hard to miss out on a big family event, but your baby’s health is more important, and they will understand.
5. Receiving Your COVID Vaccine
If you aren’t already, it’s encouraged for all parents to get vaccinated against COVID. Added protection like receiving your flu shot will help your chances of not catching COVID or the flu. However, if you happen to catch it, your symptoms will be mild and clear up quicker. This will help you get back to feeling yourself and caring for your little love.
If you’re still on the fence about the vaccine, talk to your doctor about your concerns and how this can benefit your baby. As of right now, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID can pass through breastmilk, so if you’re a breastfeeding mother, talk to your doctor before continuing to breastfeed if you become COVID positive.
Closing Thoughts on Ways to Protect Babies from Omicron
It’s scary to think that our babies could catch this virus because they have no immune defense and can’t receive vaccinations. Knowing what to look for in your baby can help prevent any illness from becoming a more significant issue.
As I mentioned previously, don’t ever feel like you’re in the wrong for calling your pediatrician if your baby becomes ill. I’ve reached my kids’ pediatrician at three in the morning when they were babies because they vomited in the middle of the night. It turned out to be nothing other than needing different formula, but I was reassured by the doctor I was reacting as any mother should. You are your baby’s advocate and know when your baby is not acting themselves.
The ways to protect your kids under two, especially babies, may seem redundant at this point because we’ve all been doing these for two years. When it comes to our most vulnerable, we can’t be too laid back and think we can start taking it easy on these recommendations. As parents, we do everything in our power to protect our kids and keep them safe and healthy. These steps can help do exactly that until they’re able to build their immune systems, receive vaccines for other illnesses when they reach a certain age, and wear masks when they’re old enough.
Don’t let the opinions and judgments of others affect how you take care of your baby. You have your kids’ health and best interest at heart, and that’s all that matters!
Also, if you need any helping hand with your household chores and errands, Call Emmy is here to always help you. Lastly, here is a related blog post that you may want to read –