Better Safe Than Sorry
Bona|December 2016

As a parent, you need to take charge and keep your child safe from getting into contact with infectious diseases.

Lungile Khumalo

Claire* was fortunate to enjoy six months maternity leave with her new baby. When the baby was two months old, it was time to hire a nanny to help her. After interviewing many prospective nannies, Claire was happy she had chosen the right one.

Seven months later, the nanny had developed a persistent cough, though she was doing a wonderful job. Claire wondered if it was possible that her nanny had TB, and had brought the infection into her house. This not only put the baby at risk, but the whole household, too.

Protecting your child from unwanted infectious diseases should be every parent’s priority. Exposure to minor infections such as flu, measles or chickenpox is inevitable. However, no parent wants to knowingly put their child in danger of contracting life-threatening diseases such as TB, HIV, meningitis or hepatitis.

Unfortunately, germs and bacterial viruses cannot be seen. This means there’s no way of stopping them from coming into your home, or preventing your child from being infected at crèche or while playing with other children. But, there are some steps you can take to minimise the risk of your child being infected by the people they come into contact with daily.

AT HOME RULES

Firstly, and most importantly, make sure your child’s immunisations are up to date. This not only protects your child from dangerous diseases, but also prevents the spread of diseases. It is good to establish standards of hygiene that the entire family and anyone living with you will follow. For instance:

A baby should not be kissed on the mouth.

No one other than the mother should breastfeed the baby.

All cuts or sores should be covered with a plaster or bandage.

Gloves should be worn before coming into contact with blood, urine, faeces or vomit.

Wash hands often – when handling a baby, changing nappies, preparing food, after using the toilet or blowing your nose.

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