What You Wear to the NICU May Make Premature Babies Sick

When you have a child in NICU, the last thing on your mind is going to be whether or not your attire makes the best fashion statement. Still, researchers in Australia want you to know that the clothes you wear can spread infection to preemies, which should cause concern for any parent with a child in the neonatal intensive care unit.


Researchers at the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney, Australia, had no problem swabbing down high- and low-traffic areas around the NICU to help determine what, or who, can spread respiratory infection to premature babies. Then, they discovered the unimaginable: Visitors' (Mom and Dad, that means you too) personal clothing had traces of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a super contagious and unfortunately common virus that can lead to severe problems -- including bronchiolitis and pneumonia. Experts also found small traces of the virus on commonly used items like chairs and bed rails.

Parents with premature babies should be concerned, as medical professionals believe preemies have one of the greatest risks of contracting RSV.

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Thankfully the percentage of parents and visitors with potential RSV on their clothing is low, but it shouldn't get brushed to the side. It's so easy to think, That would never happen to me, only to have the worst-case scenario become a nightmare of a reality.

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I'm sure there definitely needs to be more research on this as the imaginary questions and comments box on this matter is overflowing. It's already bad enough that new parents are on high alert for every other potential thing their child can contract (did anyone else have masks and hand sanitizers waiting for visitors, assuming you accepted any in the first place?), and here comes something else to add to the worry list. Nevertheless, it's always a good idea to stay in the know when it comes to your children and their health.


Image via Gavriel Jecan/Corbis

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