Tag Archives: parasite

Potential Risks of Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is an infectious parasitic disease caused by an extremely common parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. The CDC estimates an astonishing 60 million human cases of toxoplasmosis in America. It is often transferred to humans through contact with cat feces or contaminated meat, water or surfaces. Most people won’t display many symptoms, but the infection could be dangerous to certain population demographics, especially unborn children.

Potential Symptoms

Toxoplasmosis is generally asymptomatic in most healthy people, but some will develop flu-like symptoms such as:

  • Aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Severe toxoplasmosis can affect the organs or damage the eyes

Toxoplasmosis and The Immunocompromised

The immunocompromised portion of the population (those with HIV/AIDs or cancer for example) may be hit harder by a toxoplasmosis infection, displaying some of the above symptoms and requiring treatment. The Mayo Clinic advises people who fall under the immunocompromised category to watch out for reactivation of a previous toxoplasmosis infection as well. In this case, they may experience such symptoms as: confusion, seizures, poor coordination or lung problems. Seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms while undergoing chemotherapy, or after having had an organ transplant or if you have another immunocompromising condition.

The Risks of Toxoplasmosis and Pregnancy

Pregnant women who contract this disease may not show many signs themselves aside from mysterious fatigue, but transference of toxoplasmosis from a pregnant woman to her fetus is perhaps the most dangerous facet of the disease. Research suggests about 1 in 200 pregnant women will contract toxoplasmosis. Women who contract toxoplasmosis directly before or during the first few weeks of pregnancy could potentially face a miscarriage or stillbirth, however, these complications are rare. Toxoplasmosis more often affects the baby when it is contracted in the later stages of pregnancy, but the effects will likely less dire. The main complication being that you may pass on congenital toxoplasmosis to your baby which may result in such symptoms as:

  • Eye inflammation or damage
  • Feeding problems
  • Enlarged organs
  • Skin rash
  • Low birth weight
  • Hearing loss

How Can Pregnant Women Avoid Toxoplasmosis Complications?

Prevention is the best way to ensure your pregnancy or baby will not be affected by toxoplasmosis. Such measures include:

  • Not coming in close contact with cats (they are the main culprits for spreading the disease), or at the very least avoid changing cat litter and only play with clean cats
  • Cook meat to the correct temperatures and avoid drinking untreated tap water
  • Clean cooking surfaces vigorously to avoid cross contamination with uncooked meat

It is important to get tested for this parasite if you wish to become pregnant or have just learned you are pregnant. If you do contract toxoplasmosis during pregnancy, however, don’t panic. There is treatment available especially if it is caught early. Talk to your doctor today if you are concerned about this risk.

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Pets and Health Risks

Your pets might be carrying germs that can harm you and your family. We come into close contact with our pets all the time. It is important to understand the health risks that our furry little friends might expose us to. It is very important that you take care of your pets for you to be and stay healthy.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet
Making the decision to get a pet should be made after careful consideration. Caring for a pet requires time and patience. The expenses of having a pet should also be considered. Consult your local vet’s office for advice; they will be able to guide you properly. Your family’s lifestyle, home, and available outdoor space are also important factors.

The Risks Associated With Having Pets
Pets can pose a risk to your health and make you ill. People do not take proper care of their pets. Most pets can lead much happier, healthier lives if their owners take better care of them, take them to the vet, and get them properly vaccinated. Good hygiene habits are also important.

Common Risks
● Pet fur, feather, and dander can aggravate your allergies and asthma
● Tripping over pets and falling injuries are commonly reported
● Pet bites and attacks can cause serious injury leading to infection or blood loss
● Spread of parasitic diseases
● Animal misbehavior might cause stress
A Few Serious and Rare Health Risks
● Pets can acquire unpleasant infections, these infections can be transmitted to their owners. The illnesses are rare but still pose a risk if the owner is not educated about pet care.
● Dogs and cats can transmit bacteria that cause intestinal problems.
● It is possible that pets might contract the dangerous MRSA infection while visiting hospitals.
● Pets such as reptiles and rodents have been known to spread Salmonella.
● Tapeworm infections

Pet Care Tips to Help your Pet Stay Healthy
You need to take care of your pet’s health. Animals that are healthy and well-cared for can remain with you for a long time. Neglected pets can become ill, eventually transferring these germs to their surroundings. Keep your home, family, and pets safe by following these tips.

● Regular pet check-ups at the veterinarian
● Be sure to spay/neuter your pets
● Regular flea and intestinal parasite control
● Vaccinate your pets
● Make sure your pet’s weight stays in a healthy range
● Regular brushing of their teeth
● Never give any human medicine to your pets, it could prove fatal
● Supervise all direct contact between your pets and small children

If you take care of all these points your pet will be healthy, and you will be healthy as well. Unfortunately, telemedicine services for pets are not yet available but humans can be treated well. So if you feel you have health issues that are caused by your pets, please feel free to get in touch.