I am on anti-rejection medication, is it safe to be around my pets?

-Answered by Rafael Villicana, MD, the Kidney Transplant Medical Director of Loma Linda Medical Center

If you are on anti rejection medication, have chronic kidney disease or are on dialysis you must take extra precautions to stay safe and avoid infection when you have pets or are around pets that belong to friends and family. Following these quick tips will help reduce your risk.

• Wash your hands after petting, touching, or feeding pets, and after cleaning up messes. Before taking medicines and handling food, dishes, or other things in the kitchen, always wash your hands.

• Wear gloves and a mask when cleaning a cat litter box or bird cage, or picking up dog droppings. Or better yet, have someone else do it!

• Keep the claws on your dogs and cats trimmed so that you’re less likely get scratched. If you do get scratched, clean the scratch well and cover it until it heals. I carry a band aid and a packet of Neosporin in my purse, and I keep them on hand at home.

• Keep your pets clean and up to date with vaccines and flea-and-tick repellent and be sure to give them regular check-ups.