Nutrition, Preemie

Sanitizing Tips from the Days of Fearing RSV

Natural Products Expo West is one of the largest food, supplement, and personal care product shows in the world. This year’s hottest food trends would have been on display in the form of innovative start-ups and large companies trying to claim relevancy in the natural and organic food space.

Alas, because of the state of our global community many companies were opting for safety over business connections and canceling attendance. New Hope, the event organizers, made the call to postpone the event. Connecting with thousands of people and sampling food hardly seems prudent or precautionary with COVID-19 (coronavirus) spreading around the world at a rapid rate.

My work is focused on guiding companies at all stages of product development and branding who play in the health, nutrition, and performance space. With so many new novel products entering the market I am on a mission to make sure those products aren’t just chasing trends but are also delivering meaningful nourishment to our food supply and ultimately their audience. I was really looking forward to seeing what food innovators had to show-off.

Today, however, most people are focused on how to stay healthy and protect themselves from COVID-19 . As a mother to a former micro-preemie ( a baby born early and less than one pound), I have been down this “protection-from-germ” road before.

Not just preemies but all newborns are at risk of hospitalization, lung damage, and illness caused by RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). This virus is a very common cause of cold-like symptoms. If you have ever been in a daycare or pre-school, you have likely been exposed. When you leave the hospital with a newborn baby during winter months (RSV season) you are told to protect your baby by making sure they aren’t around people who are sick and frequent hand washing.

Eric and his friend Ryan on the day we took him home

When you are sent home with a baby born prematurely you are told their best chance at healthy lung development is by preventing RSV infection for two years! When we left the hospital the instruction was “do not let him catch a cold or be around anyone with a cough, cold sore, or runny nose for two years. If someone tells you it is just allergies, don’t believe them”. What? Is that even possible? Well – here are the measures I took to avoid exposure and reduce risk of contracting RSV in our household. These steps may come in handy now: (note some of these items are irrelevant with closures and shutdowns, thanks goodness)

  1. Wash your hands every time you return home before you eat and before you rub your eyes (if you are an eye rubber)
  2. Keep disinfectant wipes in your car & wipe down the steering wheel, handles, buttons, parking brake, stick shift
  3. Wash reusable cups and water bottles frequently
  4. Bring your own pen for signing things
  5. Avoid open buffets
  6. Have hand sanitizer everywhere, every pocket, backpack, purse, care.
  7. Use hand sanitizer or wash hands after interaction with the public or public service
  8. Dry hands with paper towels, not a community towel
  9. Remove shoes before entering the house and spray with bottoms with disinfectant
  10. Wash counters, doorknobs, remotes, and faucet handles in your home with detergent and warm water and then sanitize them with disinfectant wipes
  11. Wipe down your phone regularly with disinfectant wipes
  12. Wipe down your computer keyboard regularly with disinfectant wipes.
  13. Spray boxes delivered to your house with disinfectant spray before bringing them inside
  14. Avoid grocery store during most busy hours (which now seems to be first thing in the morning)
  15. Avoid talking on shared microphones (if you must talk into a mic)
  16. After returning home from a trip out in pubilc, strip down in front of the washer , wash clothes, and take a shower.

Now for some, this may seem extreme. Others may call it obsessive or crazy. Thirteen years ago when this was my baseline for functioning in the world, it worked. We didn’t catch a cold for two years. It may have been part luck part sanitizing but, I will say it again, it worked.

If it seems extreme, remember that cities are spraying the streets with disinfectant right now.

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Nutrition Strategist and Registered Dietitian with twenty years of experience creating nutrition strategies that influence and inspire people to accomplish big things.