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The role of the Registered Nurse or Newborn Care Provider is to feed, soothe, bathe, change & provide all other gentle care to baby through the night.

COVID19 Safety Recommendations from an Infection Prevention Specialist

COVID19 Safety Recommendations from an Infection Prevention Specialist and Public Health RN, Laura Hegarty-Moore, RN, MPH.  Laura us an LMS alumnus and now works at MarinHealth Medical Center in Greenbrae, CA, working on the frontlines of the pandemic.

COVID19 Safety Recommendations from a Public Health RN an Infection Prevention Specialist

Cover your face in public.

  • First, let’s talk about masks-yes, they ARE effective!  Masks, even cloth masks, are effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19. While hospital-grade masks provide some more protection, cloth masks are sufficient for your everyday encounters out in public. Studies have compared cities that used masks with ones that didn’t and the masks proved effective at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. 
  • When should I wear a mask? In any indoor public space, when waiting in line, when getting healthcare, and outdoors if you can’t stay 6ft away from others not in your household. 
  • When can I take off my mask? When engaged in strenuous outdoor work or recreation, when giving birth, when outdoors with those you live with as long as you maintain a 6ft. distance from others not in your household, when driving in your car alone or with those you live with, when eating or drinking, or in your house with those you live with, provided everyone is COVID-19 free.  Here’s a country by country comparison of mask wearing as well, updated June 15, 2020.

Gloves and Hand Hygiene

  • Do not wear gloves in public.    This is a big pet peeve for me! The CDC doesn’t recommend routine glove use. Wearing gloves in public actually spreads more germs around on more surfaces, increasing your risk of getting sick and spreading germs to others.  Many people studied removed their gloves incorrectly or thought they didn’t need to wash their hands, causing more germs to spread. For example, while wearing gloves at a grocery store, people often touch many dirty surfaces without cleaning their hands in between. Then they reach for their phone and start typing a message. Now the phone is contaminated. The next time you put the phone to your face, it’s covered with all the germs from the grocery store! Ew!
  • Cleaning your hands frequently and properly is your best defense against COVID-19! Clean with either soap and water or alcohol-based hand gel. While handwashing is always preferred because it is the most powerful way to eliminate germs, sanitizer is still very effective. If you’re washing with soap and water, scrub for at least 20 seconds (hum “happy birthday” twice!) making sure to scrub all surfaces- between all your fingers and under your fingernails. If you’re using an alcohol-based hand gel, rub the product between your hands until it’s dry (no time limit on this one!) making sure again to cover all surfaces of your hands. 
  • When should I use soap and water vs. alcohol-based hand gel?  Use soap and water when your hands are visibly soiled (e.g. after gardening, playing outdoors, or cleaning up baby puke), after using the restroom, after changing a diaper, before and after preparing or eating food, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • You can use alcohol-based hand gel any time your hands are not visibly soiled and handwashing isn’t an option, such as before and after going to the store, before and after visiting someone in the hospital, and after touching shared surfaces like computers or shopping carts.  

Understand Real & Fake News; COVID19 Safety Recommendations from an Infection Prevention Specialist

  • Don’t spread rumors, and always check your sources. Spreading misinformation is almost as bad as spreading germs! Some good ways to know if a source is legit is to ask yourself these questions: First of all, does this information come from the CDC, the WHO, or another similar guiding organization? They combine all the research to give you the best recommendations. Next, find out- is this a study? Studies are the best source for evidence-based research, and a randomized controlled trial, or RCT, is considered the gold standard. Some click-bait headlines will claim to show you horrifying results of “a new study,” but when you click on it, there’s no real study to be found! Fake news!

Next, if it’s not a study, but an article, check out the author’s credentials. Ask yourself, is this person an expert in the field? Not all doctors specialize in infectious disease, and not all public health professionals are doctors. You want to look for credentials in Epidemiology, Public Health, and/or Infectious Disease. Also, see if there’s any potential bias. For example, if there’s an article on a new drug written by a drug company, you may want to take it with a grain of salt. Lastly, you want to ask yourself- is this material current? Information about COVID-19 has been changing rapidly and you want to make sure what you’re sharing is the most up-to-date.

Testing

Only get tested if you need to.   If you have no exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 positive person and no COVID-19 symptoms, you shouldn’t get tested. Exposure is defined as spending longer than 15 minutes with someone, closer than 6ft apart, while one or both of you weren’t wearing a mask. If you meet these criteria or you’re having symptoms, consult your doctor on whether or not you should get tested.

Many people recover at home with no need to be tested and no need for medical intervention, but if you have risk factors; like you are an older adult, you’re pregnant, or you have asthma, you may want to be tested. 

Remember, COVID19 is not the only illness out there and working with newborns means we have to be extra vigilant with health and safety. Here are our night nanny and nurses’ tips to stay healthy and minimize exposure to flu, virus and cold germs.

Do you have questions for Laura or our staff on keeping safe throughout the pandemic? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter using #AskLaura. We are here to help!

Before Delivery Day: Things to Consider Before a Hospital Birth

This is a guest post to help expecting parents plan for a smooth hospital birth. It’s written by Brittany Cotton a freelance writer who focuses on health and wellness. 

As you’re setting up the nursery, researching the best baby car seats, and filling your freezer full of meals for the postpartum months, you’re definitely in “go” mode and if you are like nearly 99% of expectant mothers in the U.S., part of your birth plan is to deliver your baby at your local hospital, but you probably haven’t thought much beyond that. While you’re likely to have your hospital bag packed and know the fastest route to get there, do you know what else to expect when you get there?

Your doctor and parenting books can give you lots of answers, but maybe you have a few unanswered questions. Consider these tips and things to expect when giving birth in a hospital to ensure that you’re better prepared for the big day:

Research Your Hospital

If you live in a smaller community, there may be only one local hospital close by. Regardless if there’s just one or a small handful, it’s always a good idea to do some research on the hospital. Check out things like overall grade or ranking. Ask friends or family about their experience with delivering at the hospital. Check out all doctors who are part of the labor and delivery team.  Keep in mind that everyone’s experience is different. It can be disheartening if a doctor or maternity unit doesn’t get five-star reviews, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Just make a note of the not-so-shiny reviews.

Take a Tour of Your Hospital

If you’re signed up for a childbirth education course, part of the class may include a tour of the maternity ward. Many people are familiar with their local hospital, but it always helps to get a tour before you go into labor.

Ask Questions

During your tour, try to come with a list of questions that cover topics like visiting policies and whether or not there is a birthing center. The goal of your tour is to leave feeling more confident about giving birth. Questions are likely to pop up after your visit, so write them down and ask your OB or nurse. 

Some common questions that expectant parents ask include: 

  • Can your partner or another person stay with you in the room before, during, and after the delivery?
  • How does the hospital keep new mothers and their babies safe?
  • Are their specialists and ICU units on-site for newborns?
  • How long is the average hospital stay?
  • If your newborn needs special care, can you stay in the hospital after you’re discharged? 

It’s important to note that the answers to these questions are likely to change depending on your delivery, the health of you and your baby, and if there are other things happening beyond your control such as a natural disaster or a pandemic like COVID-19.

Have a Backup Plan

While many soon-to-be mothers create a birth plan that they want to follow to a “T,” it’s good to have a backup plan. As many labor and delivery experts will tell you, babies don’t care about plans and will do what they want. This can include everything from not being able to stream your favorite playlist, having a different doctor delivering your baby, or delivering at a different hospital than planned.

Plan For Any Hiccups or What To Do If You Have Insufficient Care

No parent wants to (or should have to) think about things that could or might go wrong before, during, and after delivery. Like having a backup birthing plan, you should think about what to do if there are complications during the delivery. It’s also important to consider that you could receive insufficient care before, during, or after delivery. Accidents happen, bedside manners aren’t always stellar, and there’s sometimes the issue of miscommunication. Delivering a baby is a life changing event that will likely have you on the roller coaster of emotions.

If at any time you aren’t comfortable or happy with the care you are receiving, or if you feel like you are in danger, you or your birth partner need to speak up and document your experiences as best as you can (or have your birthing partner help you).

Try To Go With the Flow

Planning ahead is difficult, and thinking about all the different scenarios during delivery can be overwhelming. While it’s important to think things through ahead of time to ensure that you have the best care possible, it’s also essential to immerse yourself in this experience as you enter motherhood.