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How can I avoid germs at the park?

ANSWER

When you take your toddler to the neighborhood park:

  • Steer clear of sandboxes. They attract cats and other animals. Cat droppings can carry bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
  • Keep away from stray dogs. Up to 20% of dog bites lead to infection. Dog droppings can carry bacteria and parasites like hookworms.
  • Avoid any wild animals, such as raccoons or squirrels.
  • Have your child wash their hands after the visit.

SOURCES:

CDC:  "Stay Healthy at Animal Exhibits This Summer," "Picking the Right Pet."

HealthyChildren.org: "Cats and Toxoplasmosis," "Pets and Pasteurella Infections," "Salmonella Contamination in Dry Dog and Cat Foods," "Prevent Bite Wounds."

Yvonne Maldonado, MD, professor of pediatrics and health research and policy, chief of pediatric infectious diseases, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Aaron Glatt, MD, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, Mercy Medical Center; spokesperson, Infectious Diseases Society of America.

University of Arizona: "Germ Survey: Summary of Findings."

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: "Cleaning Dog Toys with Bleach."

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli on April 17, 2018

SOURCES:

CDC:  "Stay Healthy at Animal Exhibits This Summer," "Picking the Right Pet."

HealthyChildren.org: "Cats and Toxoplasmosis," "Pets and Pasteurella Infections," "Salmonella Contamination in Dry Dog and Cat Foods," "Prevent Bite Wounds."

Yvonne Maldonado, MD, professor of pediatrics and health research and policy, chief of pediatric infectious diseases, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Aaron Glatt, MD, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, Mercy Medical Center; spokesperson, Infectious Diseases Society of America.

University of Arizona: "Germ Survey: Summary of Findings."

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: "Cleaning Dog Toys with Bleach."

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli on April 17, 2018

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