Kid diseases and pets

By Susan Aielo • Published: February 15th, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

Worried your little one is going to get sick from chasing after the neighbor’s poodle?

People often blame childhood infections on the family pet. But common conditions such as colds, head lice, pinworms and most childhood illnesses come from other people, not pets.

Places where children gather, such as classrooms and parties, are especially fertile fields for spreading infection. And in fairly rare instances, illness can pass from pets to people, especially those who often place things in their mouths.

Salmonella bacteria and toxoplasma parasites are particular culprits. Kids can also catch ringworm, scabies and cat-scratch disease from handling infected pets.

Although nothing can guarantee your child won’t get sick, practicing basic hygiene and keeping pets healthy can go a long way toward making sure they don’t drag home unwanted visitors.