Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

When you have an infant, keeping him or her away from germ hazards is hard enough -- the dirt, the dog's water bowl, the surface of a public changing table.

But there's one potential source of germs that's a lot harder to control: people. Specifically, the swarms of family, friends and complete strangers that always seem to surround little babies. Smiling grannies and grubby preschoolers alike, they lurch toward your defenseless baby like zombies, arms outstretched, desperate to hold, touch, or kiss the baby.

It can make keeping your baby healthy tough. Unfortunately, all that contact with germy people can make babies sick – especially infants. "Infections in small babies can be pretty serious," says Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, a pediatrician and author of Mommy Calls. "They can get very sick quite quickly."

So how can you keep your baby healthy and get other people to keep their germs to themselves? And how can you do it without getting a rep for being a high-strung, OCD freak? Here's some advice.

Keeping Baby Healthy: Do I Need to Worry About Germs?

Of course, you may wonder whether you really need to protect your baby against germs. After all, doesn't exposure to germs build immunity, and doesn't that help keep babies healthy in the long run?

It is true that getting exposed to germs makes the immune system savvier. When the body is infected by a virus, the immune system usually figures out how to defend itself. Then, the next time you come in contact with that specific microorganism, the immune cells are ready. They can often fight it off without your getting sick.

However, that doesn't mean that deliberately exposing your child to germs is smart. Your baby will get all the germ exposure he or she needs naturally, says Robert W. Frenck Jr., MD, professor of pediatrics at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. You don't need to help along the process by having your uncle sneeze on your baby.

Keep in mind that germs like cold and flu viruses that are pretty benign in adults can cause problems in young babies. For that reason, Altmann stresses that parents should be very careful to protect their babies from germs in the first three months -- and if possible, the first six.

Want More Information on Keeping Your Family Healthy?

Sign up for WedMD's Parenting and Children's health newsletter to get tips and games that inspire healthy habits.

The Nastiest Places Your Kids Will Find

Find the germ traps, both inside and outside your home.
View slideshow