Keeping Your Children Infection-Free Around Pets
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Keeping Your Children Infection-Free Around Pets

Pets are great companions both outside and inside the house. Adults adore them; children love them all the more. But that cuddly and adorable puppy or cat can also give more than affection—it can pass along bacterial and parasitic infection.

Pets are great companions both outside and inside the house. Adults adore them; children love them all the more. But that cuddly and adorable puppy or cat can also give more than affection—it can pass along bacterial and parasitic infection. Children are especially susceptible because they’re more likely to kiss and hug pets, and less likely to be meticulous about hygiene. Good thing about this is, most pet-transmitted diseases can be easily treated with antibiotic or any anti-fungal medication; some even go away on their own. In any case, it’s best to contact the doctor at the first sign of symptoms. Here are some of the parasites and infections that commonly come from animals and some facts you need to know:

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Lymphocytic choriomeningitis – a viral infectious disease spread naturally by house mice, hamsters, and guinea pigs. An infected person may show symptoms such as seizures, breathing problems, and eye discharge. The disease can be acquired by touching an affected animal’s urine, droppings or blood.

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Intestinal worms – a parasite infection that can be transmitted from dogs and cats. Tapeworms can cause diarrhea and weight loss; roundworms are visible in stools. Intestinal worms are transmitted through contact with soil or sand that is contaminated with feces with worm larvae.

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Salmonella – Reptiles, such as iguanas and turtles may carry salmonella bacteria. A person infected with salmonella may experience diarrhea and vomiting. Salmonella is transmitted through handling infected animals.

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Parrot fever – is a disease that infects both animals and humans. This bacterial infection can come from birds, like parrots and parakeets. Symptoms of a parrot fever-infected person include coughing, chest pain, fever, chills, and vomiting. This can be transmitted through contact with bird feces or by inhaling the dust in bird cages.

To prevent or avoid these pet-borne illnesses, here are some simple steps.

• Have new pets tested before bringing them home.

• Have animals vaccinated and routinely dewormed.

• Keep litter boxes and cages clean.

• If your pet displays excessive scratching, hair loss, digestive upset or other signs of illness, take it to the vet.

• Don’t use the kitchen sink to clean your pets or their toys, cages, or tanks.

• Don’t let children play in sandboxes that aren’t covered when not in use (animals may have urinated or defecated in them)

• Teach children not to touch animal droppings or let pets lick their face or hands.

• Always wash hands with soap and water after handling pets.

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Comments (4)

informative! nice article!

Excellent tips. Another infection humans can get from pets is ringworm. It's not actually a worm but a fungal infection. Keeping a pet's coat clean cuts down on the possibility of this. Ringworm first shows up as an itchy area and when examined the affected area is circular. It's easily treated with some over-the-counter remedies a pharmacist can recommend.

Important info! Great work!

just as humans can get sick from pets.. we too can make our pets sick (ringworm as mentioned in the comments above can also spread from people to pets) I always caution people against taking "free kittens" since they have not seen a vet they could be ill, although often not to the point where people get ill, but it can cost you money.. if you adopt from a shelter the pets have seen a vet and come with a guarantee and in the long run are "cheaper than free" because of what went into them compared with what it would cost you. I have worked with pets for years.. hundreds in the shelters.. never been sick because of one.. just sad when they dont get homes. parents need to supervise when they have pets.. the kids need to be watched too - its not that hard to teach toddlers not to put things in their mouth if you set your self to do it.