Wednesday, May 18, 2011

10 Steps To Help Prevent Zoonotic Diseases

Definition: Any infectious disease that can be passed from non-human animals to humans.

Zoonotic... even the word sounds scary. And when combined with names like rabies, lyme or salmonella it almost always elicits a reaction.  Luckily zoonotic diseases don't have to be as scary as they sound as long as we follow a few simple safety guidelines. 

Curious to find out what the top 10 ways to prevent zoonotic diseases are? Hit the jump to find out.

1. Schedule annual veterinary visits for your pet, which should include fecal examinations.
2. Keep your pet on year-round monthly parasite prevention, as recommended by your veterinarian.
3. Keep pets indoors or supervised to discourage hunting, and do not feed pets raw or undercooked meals.
4. Wash your hands frequently, especially after handling animals and working outdoors.  Be sure your children wash their hands after playing outside.
5. Wash any wounds, even small nicks and cuts, promptly and thoroughly.
6. Clean cats' litter boxes daily, wearing gloves, and always wash your hands immediately afterwards.  (Though if you're pregnant, you should avoid cleaning litter boxes altogether.  Have someone else do it for you.)
7. Avoid approaching, touching or handling stray animals.
8. Cover children's sandboxes when they're not in use.
9. Always wear gloves when gardening.
10. Protect yourself from ticks by covering your body with a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a hat.  Check for ticks after hiking, playing or working in tick-infested environments.  Also consider using repellants.

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