Do bird feathers found on the ground carry disease?
I was always told as a child not to pick up bird feathers because they carry diseases. Now my own daughter wants to pick them up whenever she runs across one. Should I keep her from them, or am I being overly cautious?
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
MOST germs can't live very long off of a living creature. they need to be in a warm environment. I would say it's probably fine, just have her wash her hands afterward and keep it away from her face. I was always picking up bird feathers as a kid and can't trace a single illness back to them.
I'm not saying there can't be some germs or she can't get sick, but the chances are slim, ESPECIALLY if she keeps it off of her face and her hands out of her mouth until they are washed.
If you keep your kids away from all germs all the time, they're immune system won't have a chance to build up.
I don't think you're being OVERLY cautious, your just being a mom. You don't want your kid getting sick and that's understandable.
- CherylLv 44 years ago
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I assume you're referring to the bird flu that's currently spreading through western europe. It's important that you remember that very few birds can carry the disease; however, one of the ways that the disease spreads to humans is by contact with the feathers. The most likely ways of a human contracting the virus, though, are constant contact with the faeces of birds, as well as regular contact with their beaks. Of course, since birds preen their feathers using their beaks, it is possible that the virus could survive for a short time on the feathers, and so could be passed onto humans. If you're in any doubt as to whether you may have contracted the disease, you should go to a doctor immediately. Bird flu usually manifests itself first in the form of a minor eye infection, but can spread through the body quickly depending on the strain. In the UK, the deadly H5N1 strain has only been confirmed to date in a single dead swan, and there are no confirmed cases of it being passed on to humans in the UK. Breeds of birds you should be especially careful with are swans, geese and ducks, as they are particularly susceptible to it and may carry it for several weeks without showing any symptoms whatsoever. Also, as they are migratory birds the risk of them carrying it from another country are greatly increased. All that said, I wouldn't be too concerned about it; as long as you're careful and you're not in regular physical contact with birds you should be alright. Alex
- 1 decade ago
I am not sure about diseases but lice is always a concern with bird feathers. Lice can live on bird feathers after they have fell off. Best bet is to just leave the feathers alone.