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Pets and Lymphedema
Having a pet, or pets, can be a great joy; however, when you have lymphedema there are some risks you should be aware of and precautions that you should take.
BITES AND SCRATCHES
When you have lymphedema, any break in the skin of the affected area puts you at risk of developing a serious infection.
Unless you have protected your pets against ticks, they can transmit ticks that could bite you and cause Lyme disease. This is an inflammatory disease that is spread via a deer tick in neighborhoods where herds of wild deer wander freely. You and/or ticks can be bitten by one of these ticks and cause a serious disease that has an easily recognized symptom. This is at the site of the bite a characteristic "bulls eye" sore develops that has a white center with red streaks. This is a serious condition and anyone who had been bitten by a deer tick should see their physician promptly.
CLEANING UP AFTER PETS
Cleaning the litter box is no one’s favorite task. Pregnant women are warned to have someone else clean the kitty litter box for the duration of the pregnancy because of the risk on contracting toxoplasmosis because of the risk of causes birth defects in the developing child.
In healthy individuals toxoplasmosis does not cause symptoms; however in an individual with a compromised immune system, toxoplasmosis can cause serious health problems. If you have lymphedema, your immune system is compromised. If it is your hand and arm that are affected by lymphedema, it is wise to have someone else take over this clean-up duty. If this cannot be avoided, while performing this task, always wear waterproof protective gloves that are discarded after use.
FiSH TANK RELATED HAZARDS
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now includes Mycobacterium marinum on its list of “Emerging Infectious Diseases.” Also known as fish tank granuloma, this slow growing bacteria can infect fish and people. Although relatively rare, it is increasingly common and those with lymphedema need to beware of the dangers of an infection with this bacteria.
Mycobacterium marinum infections produce nodular (bump-like) lesions or ulcerating (open) skin sores on the extremities. As the disease progresses, multiple sores may form in a line along the lymphatic vessel that drains the site. When there is a delay in diagnosing this condition, this pathogen continues to invade into the deeper tissues of the affected limb.
When there is a break in the skin and anyone with other serious medical conditions, including lymphedema, are at greatest risk because a Mycobacterium marinum infection can be acquired by cleaning aquariums, handling fish, or swimming in water that is not properly chlorinated.
If your hand and arm are affected by lymphedema, have somone else take over responsibility for cleaning the fish tank.
PETS DEVELOP LYMPHEDEMA TOO
Just like people, cats and dogs are at risk of developing either primary or secondary lymphedema.
© LymphNotes.com 2014. This information does not replace the advice of a qualified health care professional.
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