Monday, September 29, 2008

Keep it Clean, But Don't Obsess

When you find out you get to bring your preemie home, there's a natural reaction that kicks in. There's a sudden need to purge the home of every germ, dust particle, and smudge that may exist. Fears of RSV, Pertussis, and worse can send a normally easygoing parent into a tailspin of housekeeping frenzy. This is understandable. We met parents who took a full week off of work to clean their home from top to bottom. Others hired a service to come in and vacuum every duct in their home. These were going to be some clean places, I'll tell you.

I don't believe it needs to be that way.

It's important to protect your fragile infant from as many harmful germs as possible, this is true. The best way to do that? Wash your hands. Yep. That's it. And make sure others wash their hands as well. Learn to sneeze or cough into your sleeve. Carry antibacterial gel, wipes, or spray. Basically, keep your hands clean.

Don't get me wrong, it's always nice to have a fresh and clean home, especially when you're bringing a new little baby home. But a few dust particles won't hurt the average preemie. Smudges on your glass door won't send you running back to the hospital. Stained carpet or yellowed wallpaper won't make a bit of difference.

By all means, keep your preemie's surroudings clean- just remember that you're the most important thing to clean.


Anonymous said...

Agree in theory with your well-written post but think it is important to note that for some preemies with respiratory issues, especially those that come home with O2, severe CLD or a trach, that dust CAN be an issue. And dust can aggravate respiratory problems. This is why many new preemie parents are diligent about the dust issue.

Just something to keep in consideration!


JessieLeigh said...

Great point, Tiffany. It is also true that parents of asthmatic children (full-term or not) need to be super vigilant about dust/dander. Our daughter DID come home on O2 and never seemed any more bothered than the rest of us, but her CLD was not considered severe either.

Thanks for pointing out those other circumstances!