Spreading Parasites – Sand at Playgrounds
As healthcare professionals, the duty to keep patients safe from all manner of health risks is the most important thing. This includes doing research into potential causes of health issues. When it comes to treating children, it is vital to take into consideration everything that a child can be exposed to in their lives, which includes any playgrounds they may frequent. Playgrounds usually have sand pits, and this is where the most risk can come from, in the shape of parasites.
What They Are
Playground parasites are found almost exclusively in the sand pits. The majority of them are parasites are Toxoplasma gondii and are deposited there through cat feces. Cats use the sand pits as litter boxes, which makes the prevalence of these parasites unsurprising. These playground parasites are easily ingested by children who play in the sand pits, since they tend to put their hands in their mouths often.
What This Means
Cats that are spreading parasites are usually feral, with all manner of health concerns, though the parasite itself is the most dangerous. Toxoplasma is well known for the studies done on rats that have shown it to create cysts in parts of the brain that control behavior. This made rats more prone to enjoy the smell of cat urine, putting them in danger of being killed and eaten by cats. These changes in behavior are a concern for humans, especially developing minds. Although there have been no definitive results, there is plenty to suggest that these parasites can affect mood and can cause many other health risks in children and adults. There have even been studies done that show women who have committed suicide usually have a trace of Toxoplasma in their brains.
Cats are spreading parasites at high levels, which means that sand pits and boxes should be cleaned and then covered before use. There are too many risks for children but these can be reduced by replacing the sand regularly and admonishing parents not to let their kids stick their fingers in their mouth while playing in the sand. With careful monitoring and good hygiene, the risk of parasites can decrease significantly.