Protect Infant Breathing

Lynsey Keep, RN
happy baby

As new parents the fear that a newborn infant will become ill is an ongoing concern, and keeping an infant free from ailments such as colds and coughs gives rise to a greater need to protect infant breathing and keep him or her germ-free.

Unavoidable Illness and Environmental Causes

No matter how hard we try as parents, there will still be unavoidable occasions where an infant will become ill due to exposure to common ailments. To a degree we can reduce this risk by keeping the infant away from those who may have particularly contagious health problems such as chicken pox and gastric bugs, but avoiding common colds and respiratory illnesses cannot be achieved no matter how we try to protect infant breathing.

As well as illness, there are also small risks relating to environmental breathing problems such as allergies. Some infants show signs of allergy related problems such as asthma and hay fever in early life, and when symptoms first occur it can be a worrying time for parents.

Exposure to tobacco smoke can also be a trigger for infant breathing problems. In order to protect infant breathing, avoidance of smoky atmospheres and direct contact with those who smoke is a necessary action and one which can be achieved to a greater degree.

Environmental pollutants give concern to some parents particularly those living in built up urban areas. Although there is no avoidance of contact with environmental pollutants such as fumes from motor vehicle or household fuel, some parents take the drastic action of relocating to a less troublesome area if their child is known to have a breathing or respiratory problem triggered by an environmental source.

Protect Infant Breathing and Avoid Respiratory Problems

Infants are often more resilient than parents think; however, in the first few months of life, it is totally understandable that new parents will take every step to avoid illness and harm befalling their baby.

In order to protect infant breathing and avoid respiratory problems, a common sense approach is usually best, and watching out for hazards that we as adults may find an issue in relation to breathing is sensible. It is a fact that infants are more susceptible to colds and respiratory problems, particularly in the first year of life and avoiding obvious risks such as close contact with those with respiratory infections is reasonable. Although the immune system is still strengthening, it is problems such as this that an infant may be at greater risk of.

In order to protect an infant in the early months of life, the following actions are advisable:

  • Ensure all immunizations are up to date - that way certain unwanted childhood illnesses can be avoided.
  • Keep the infant away from day care - if there is a known respiratory illness affecting many children it may be best to keep your infant at home until the problem is less prevalent.
  • Dress your infant according to the seasons - ensure he or she is wrapped up warm in the winter months to avoid the risk of chills which can potentially lead to breathing problems.
  • Refrain from smoky environments - avoiding direct contact with tobacco and other smoke.
  • Avoid the outdoors when there is a high pollen count - if it is possible that hay fever is causing breathing problems, avoid exposing the infant to grass and heavily planted areas at times when pollen counts are high.
  • Ensure good ventilation - particularly in the summer months ensure that the room where the infant sleeps is well ventilated to avoid becoming overwhelmed by heat.

Don't Take Chances

It is easy to protect infant breathing problems in most cases. However, if an infant becomes unwell with a respiratory illness that does not appear to be improving, it is essential to seek medical attention to ensure that there is not an infection present or a chronic illness such as asthma as both problems will only improve with prescribed medication.

If infant breathing problems are caused by a suspected allergy, there are tests available to diagnose or rule this out. For parents who are unsure what is causing a breathing problem, once an acute problem has been ruled out, then long term issues may need to be considered.

Protect Infant Breathing