Ensuring a germ-free house to keep baby healthy: do’s & don’ts

Ensuring a germ-free house to keep baby healthy: do’s & don’ts

Are you a parent scrubbing down every surface for a germ-free house to keep the baby healthy? You might be frustrated, as it seems like a fruitless task. “In the first few years of life, babies put everything into their mouths,” says Robert W. Frenck Jr., MD, professor of paediatrics, as reported by WebMD. Indeed, babies are curious by nature, and touch and taste every new thing they come across.

But antibodies that are transferred from mother during birth will decline in the first few weeks. While their bodies will develop immunity eventually, if viruses overwhelm their immunity before their bodies can produce enough antibodies, they can get very sick quickly.

Research shows that some viruses such as stomach viruses, respiratory tract pathogens and the common cold can cause a lot of damage. A stomach virus can cause dehydration and spreads quickly to the bloodstream.  If infected in the first month, it can lead to liver damage, meningitis, encephalitis and heart inflammation. Another common virus is the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). When it afflicts infants under six months of age, it makes the lungs swell and blocks air flow. This leads to severe breathlessness and pneumonia.

The common flu virus can also make infants very sick, compared to older children and adults. Therefore, parents must be vigilant to keep the house  germ-free for a healthy baby.

So what are some dos and don’ts you can do as a parent in order to keep a germ-free house and your baby healthy?

Read on to get some cleaning ideas.

The dos:

1. Clean and disinfect all touched surfaces

    When a person is sick, bacteria spreads from their touch to linger on surfaces. This can stay on indoor surfaces for up to seven days, especially on nonporous surfaces such as steel. Some bacteria divide and multiply every 20 minutes, according to research. So, even as you are putting the baby to sleep, germs are multiplying already.

    Additionally, although studies show that most cold  viruses are only contagious for 24 hours, certain pathogens can be viable up to 48 hours. Since we cannot see what infectious viruses lurk as baby gurgles around, we need to clean high touch surfaces and items constantly to keep them germ free, especially if the baby is crawling or already walking.

    Cleaning commonly used areas such as the bathroom, one of the most germ-filled spots in the house, is necessary. If you have a new infant, a good practice would be to sterilise baby items after you buy them before use.

    2. Clean and disinfect all touched surfaces

    Germ-free, healthy baby

    Food-borne illnesses are always risky, so ensure that kitchen surfaces are germ-free by wiping down daily. This is especially important after preparing raw meat, poultry, or fish. Raw meat may contain salmonella, e. coli, yersinia, and other bacteria.Recent research has also found that washing meat can cause  bacteria to splash on the kitchen surface. Failure to clean contaminated areas and utensils can lead to food-borne illness.

    Therefore, it is highly recommended that utensils and surfaces must be decontaminated thoroughly after preparing food, especially raw meats. Be careful to store raw food separately from cooked food so that cross-contamination does not happen as well. Food that is not handled safely can harbour germs that can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, too. Parents and caregivers must be mindful to wash their hands before preparing food to keep the baby healthy.

    The don'ts:

    1. Don’t use the wrong equipment to sanitise surfaces

    UV light used in New York City as part of  pilot test to keep trains clean

    By now, it might stress you out thinking about how to keep a germ-free house for a healthy baby. A useful tip is to use UV-C light, which is scientifically proven to decontaminate surfaces by destroying virus structures. UV radiation has been used to combat the Covid-19 virus on public transport in cities such as New York City.

    Before you purchase UV-C light products online, take heed of advice by the National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore on its website: the effectiveness of such devices in inactivating microorganisms depends on factors such as duration of exposure, intensity, distance of a surface from source and wavelength of UV radiation. For the layperson, using UV-C light at home requires ‘careful calibration and monitoring’.

    Doctors have also warned that portable devices may be ineffective since light must shine directly from the source onto the surface for thorough disinfection. UV-C light must also be used in a self-contained environment so that users cannot see it, or it can cause blindness. Therefore, while UV-C technology can be highly effective for  a germ-free environment to keep a baby healthy, you will need to look for equipment that is safe and easy to use.

    2. Don’t allow others to touch baby without clean hands

    While it might be impossible to wrap your baby in a bubble, you can limit contact with other people. If there are visitors, being extra careful and asking them to wash their hands is a good practice to keep the baby healthy.

    In the first two months, it is very important to limit exposure to germs from people. Babies can get viruses from people who do not know that they are contagious yet. We also do not know what pathogens linger on the outside surfaces that visitors have touched. Therefore, it is important to have others wash their hands before touching the infant.

    Conclusion:

    As shown above, UV-C technology is highly effective in keeping baby items germ-free at home. But you will need to invest in a unit that is easy to use, requires minimal monitoring, and yet can effectively keep your items germ free.

    The Steinman UV Procare (Steriliser + Dryer) Cabinet fits these requirements. Once you close the sleek stainless steel door of the cabinet, set the mode and timer on the crystal display,  the inbuilt Philips UV-C lamp works to disinfect all surfaces directly, killing 99% of any micro-organisms.

    A reflective mirror on the inside of the door ensures 360 degree UV-C light penetration. The display tells you the time to sterilise and a safe-lock function stops any curious toddler’s hands from accidentally unlocking the cabinet. With 18 litres of space within the cabinet, you can sterilise almost everything - from breast pumps, baby bottles, pacifiers, toys, kitchen utsensils and even your own personal items.

    To find out more about a Steinman UV Procare Cabinet to keep a germ-free house for a healthy baby, speak to our representative at Steinman today!

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