Being Healthy at the Fair – Wash your Hands!

One of the reasons I love summer is because of the fun to be had at county fairs and the state fair. The Waushara County Fair is coming up August 16-19. Be aware…among the fun with rides, exhibits and animal barns are bacteria waiting to spoil your day. Proper handwashing will make sure the fun doesn’t stop. Cute Animals Shed More than Hair! The first thing anyone wants to do when they see a cute animal is touch it.  However, even the healthiest of animals may have bacteria that can make you very ill.  All animals have bacteria in their manure, and some, like E. coli and Salmonella, can make people really sick. The bacteria from an animal’s manure gets on its body, pen bedding, alleyways, and equipment around the pens and even onto the hands, clothing, shoes and stroller wheels of passersby. Even small amount of manure carry millions of bacteria, including the kinds that make us sick.  These bacteria are especially hazardous for young children. Hand washing is the single most important way of preventing the spread of germs that cause illness. Keep Your Family Safe The Centers for Disease Control offers these tips to help keep your family healthy during your trip to the fair: • Children younger than 5 years need constant adult supervision in animal areas. • Avoid taking strollers, bottles, pacifiers, spill-proof cups or toys into animal areas. • Never allow children to put thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or toys in their mouths when they’re around animals or in an animal area. • Do not bring food or drink into the livestock areas. • Children younger than 5 years, people older than 65, and people with weakened immune systems should take special care around the animal exhibits. • Wash your hands after being in the animal area. • Wash your hands after riding carnival rides or playing carnival games. These areas can have a lot of germs and get onto your hands, clothing, and even into your mouth if you don’t wash your hands before eating.

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