Artificial turf in Arizona is an awesome way to enjoy the benefits of having a lawn in your yard without the high water usage and constant mowing. However it is NOT maintenance-free. Over time, especially if you have pets, some nasty things can find their way onto and into the turf which can pose health risks to your family and pets if not regularly cleaned and maintained. These nasty things can include a variety of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other infection-causing organisms. Sounds fun, right?
Here are some of the more common nasties that can make their way onto your turf without proper maintenance:
- Ringworm – Ringworm, also called tinea, is actually not a “worm” at all. It is a common skin infection caused by a fungus. Ringworm can affect the body, scalp, feet, and groin. You may be familiar with athlete’s foot and jock itch – these are actually technically Ringworm.
- Pinworms – These guys are parasites and they are nasty little buggers. They are usually found in the colon and rectum, and are introduced when a “host” swallows their eggs. These eggs hatch inside the host and quickly get cozy. The females actually will exit through the host’s butt at night to lay their eggs. Unfortunately his is not some horror movie, it’s really what they do. YUCK! Oh, they also spread quite easily.
- Staph – A Staph (Staphylococcus) infection is something you may already be familiar with. It can get really nasty really quick and even result in death if not treated properly. It is caused by a group of bacteria that cause a variety of types of infections, most commonly infections of the skin. No fun. Not cool. 0/10
- Parvo – Parvo is a highly contagious and infectious virus that affects puppies and young doggos. The virus causes an infection in the GI tract which can be deadly if not treated. Unfortunately, it spreads like wildfire among the K9 population and is found all over the place. This one really sucks because it affects puppies. We love puppies. Luckily, there is preventive medicine for this and it is usually one of the first treatments your dog receives as a pup!
- Distemper – Distemper is another highly contagious virus that causes disease in dogs, ferrets, skunks, raccoons, and other animals. There is no cure and it can often be deadly. Distemper attacks multiple organs, affecting the GI tract, respiratory system, and central nervous system. Luckily, similar to Parvo, there is preventive medicine for this and is also part of the first treatments your dog receives as a pup!
- eColi – Escherichia coli (E. coli) can affect both pets and humans. In animals, E. coli can cause gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and vomiting. In humans, it can lead to food poisoning, urinary tract infections, and even life-threatening illnesses. The bacteria can spread through contaminated food or water, and close contact with infected individuals or animals.
- Salmonella – Salmonella is a type of bacterium that can cause illness in both pets and humans. In pets, it can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In humans, infection with Salmonella can lead to salmonellosis, which can cause similar symptoms as well as fever and headache. Salmonella can spread through contaminated food, water, or contact with infected animals, and it can also be transmitted from pets to humans. Treatment of salmonellosis typically involves antibiotics, but in severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary.
- Pseudomonas Aeruginosa – Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a type of bacterium that can infect both pets and humans. In animals, it can cause skin and ear infections. In humans, it can cause respiratory and urinary tract infections, as well as infections in individuals with weakened immune systems. P. aeruginosa is often resistant to multiple antibiotics, making treatment challenging. Proper hygiene and sanitation can help prevent the spread of P. aeruginosa infections. In severe cases, hospitalization and aggressive treatment may be necessary.
- MRSA – Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics, making it difficult to treat. In both pets and humans, MRSA can cause skin infections, such as boils and abscesses, as well as more serious infections like pneumonia and bloodstream infections. MRSA can spread through close contact with infected individuals or contaminated surfaces. To prevent MRSA infections, it is important to practice good hygiene, such as washing hands regularly, and to seek medical treatment for skin infections promptly. In pets, it’s important to keep their skin and fur clean and to see a veterinarian if they show signs of infection.
- Trichophyton mentagrophytes – Trichophyton mentagrophytes (Athletes Foot) is a type of fungus that can cause skin infections in both pets and humans. In pets, it can cause a condition known as ringworm, which is characterized by circular patches of hair loss and scaly, itchy skin. In humans, it can cause a similar infection known as dermatophytosis, which affects the nails, hair, and skin. These infections are usually treated with antifungal medications, and can be prevented by maintaining good hygiene and avoiding close contact with infected individuals or animals.
- Influenza A (H1N1) – Influenza A (H1N1) is a strain of the influenza virus that can infect both humans and pets, particularly dogs and cats. In humans, it can cause symptoms similar to seasonal flu, such as fever, cough, and body aches. In pets, the symptoms can include coughing, sneezing, and fever. The virus is highly contagious and can spread from person to person or from infected animals to humans.
Nasty stuff, right? Not to worry! Much of this can be prevented or eliminated with regular maintenance and cleaning. There are even a few things you can do yourself to help between cleanings including picking up poop right away, using a pet-friendly & turf-friendly disinfectant solution on pee spots, and hosing off your turf once in a while (assuming it was installed properly and drains well).
If you haven’t been keeping up on regular maintenance or if your turf has a strong odor, it may be time for a professional cleaning. When we come out for your free initial inspection, we’ll assess the situation and recommend the best turf cleaning service for you to keep your turf in great shape and most importantly keep your family and pets healthy and happy.