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How harmful are pigeon and lizard droppings to us?

Wednesday, 16 March 2005
Answered by: Dr. Irwin Ziment
Professor of Medicine,
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA),
USA
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Q. I am very scared of bird and lizard droppings. I have heard that both are extremely poisonous. A lot of pigeons drop stool and create a nuisance in my house. They also spoil clothes that we put out to dry. I am getting terribly worried and don't know how to handle this problem. How harmful are pigeon droppings? Every time I clean them, I wash my hands with dettol. I keep washing the clothes if I see them sitting on them. I have the same problem with lizard droppings also. How poisonous are these? I have to wash the bed sheets if I see lizard droppings on them. But how can I to wash the sofa? This fear increases during my menstrual period. I get tensed that my blood will get infected if my clothes are touched by the droppings. But I have noticed that others are just not bothered about them. Please tell me whether I am right. I also have problems with my husband regarding me bothering about this so much. He gets irritated with my behaviour. How can I live a healthy life? What is the process of cleaning the verandah, bed sheets and dresses so that there is no health hazard?

A.  The risk from any animal droppings or other residues is minimal, provided the dirt is cleared away immediately. The main concern is allergy since some animal material can cause asthma. There is no risk from lizards. Pigeon droppings, feathers, etc. should not be allowed to accumulate in a confined space where there is prolonged contact because, rarely, a fungus infection can occur if old material is breathed in from the resulting dust. Any further concerns or unusual fears should be addressed by psychologic de conditioning or anti-anxiety medications.

A.  The risk from any animal droppings or other residues is minimal, provided the dirt is cleared away immediately. The main concern is allergy since some animal material can cause asthma. There is no risk from lizards. Pigeon droppings, feathers, etc. should not be allowed to accumulate in a confined space where there is prolonged contact because, rarely, a fungus infection can occur if old material is breathed in from the resulting dust. Any further concerns or unusual fears should be addressed by psychologic de conditioning or anti-anxiety medications.

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