Toxoplasmosis, a common and mild disease, can be dangerous if caught during pregnancy. Here are our tips for protecting yourself without necessarily having to stay away from your cat.
First, be proactive
A blood test is necessary at the beginning of your pregnancy to check for toxoplasmosis. This will allow you to find out whether you are protected against this parasite and therefore take preventive measures. To avoid infection during pregnancy, you should follow the recommendations concerning diet, hygiene and contact with cats. In addition, monthly monitoring and serology tests will allow the detection of a possible infection and, if necessary, the implementation of appropriate treatment.
Toxoplasmosis: what are the symptoms?
Most of the time, in 80% of cases, toxoplasmosis goes unnoticed. The symptoms that should alert you include:
- mild fever (below 38°C)
- the presence of lymph nodes (mainly in the neck and at the base of the skull)
- a skin rash (small pinkish pimples) all over the body
- fatigue, often prolonged (lasts several weeks or months), headache
- aches and pains in the joints and muscles (like those we have in the flu)
Take all precautions
The parasite that causes toxoplasmosis is found in soil, meat, fur, cat droppings, or on vegetables. Therefore, we advise you to pay extra attention during pregnancy:
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat (red meat, American filet, smoked or marinated meat such as hunting meats), as well as raw eggs.
- Wash your hands as often as possible, especially before cooking and eating (after handling raw meat, soil or vegetables).
- Wash well and peel raw vegetables, fruits, and herbs, if possible.
- Better eat cooked vegetables.
- Do not rub your eyes after handling raw meat or soil.
- Wear gloves when gardening.
- Avoid contact with cats, especially if they are stray.
- Avoid materials that may be contaminated by cat faeces (garden soil, litter boxes, etc.)
- If you have a cat, feed it cooked or canned food. If you must handle its litter box, wear gloves, and disinfect it with bleach.
If you are very concerned, there are medicines that can reduce the risk of infection to the fetus. Ask your doctor for further advice.
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