Children love pets and they benefit from the companionship, relationships and affection that they share with their pets. However, pets can transmit harmful infections to humans. It is therefore important to know how to protect your child from these infections.
All animals have germs and bacteria. Some infections carried by animals cannot be transmitted to humans. But, humans can get animal-borne diseases when they are bitten or scratched by animals or come into contact with animal waste or saliva.
The most common household pets are cats and dogs. The most common infections carried over to humans by cats and dogs are cat scratch disease, rabies and ringworm.
Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus. It affects the skin, hair and nails of animals and humans. Ringworm is highly contagious and is spread by touching the affected area of an animal or person or by indirect contact with infected items.
Types of ringworm
- Ringworm on the scalp.
- Ringworm on the skin.
- Ringworm on the groin (‘jock-itch’).
- Ringworm on the foot (‘athlete’s foot’).
Signs and symptoms
- On the skin: red, scaly blister-like patches in a ring-like formation.
- On the scalp: red, flaky or swollen scalp with bald patches.
- On the nails: nails are discolored and appear thick.
- Over-the-counter anti-fungal creams or powder.
- Severe infections that do not respond to over-the-counter medication, is treated with oral prescription medication.
- Natural treatments are effective and have no side effects.
Ringworm thrives in moist areas. Keep your body, especially feet, dry and clean. If possible, wear shoes in pools, public showers, gyms, etc. Use your own towel, comb, etc. and do not share these.
Pets should have regular vaccinations and physical examinations. Feed pets with nutritious food and always provide fresh water. Avoid feeding your pet raw meat and do not allow your pet to drink toilet water. Always wash your hands after touching our pet. Avoid kissing pets. Do not share your plate of food with your pet. Remember, infections can be spread through saliva. Do not bathe your pet in the kitchen sink or the bathtub.
By taking these simple measures you can ensure that your pet and your child are safe from infections.