“With fair season upon us, we want to remind folks that some illnesses, such as influenza viruses, are commonly carried by livestock and can be directly transmitted between animals and humans in the same way those illnesses are often transmitted between people,” said Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Ted Wymyslo.
Individuals should always wash hands with soap and water before and after petting or touching any animal. Never eat, drink, or put anything in your mouth in animal areas. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to leave strollers outside the animal exhibits and carry small children. Older adults, pregnant women, young children, and people with weakened immune systems should consider avoiding animal areas.
“For some, visiting the barns at the local fair is one of the most important ways to teach young people about where their food comes from. By taking some common-sense precautions, we can ensure that visiting your local agricultural fair remains a fun, safe, and wholesome educational activity for your family,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David T. Daniels.
The Agriculture Department has worked closely with fair boards, youth organizations and fair veterinarians to increase access to hand sanitizers and hand washing stations. Frequent hand washing can lower your risk of getting sick from influenza, salmonella, E. Coli and other infections.
Below are some additoinal tips to help you prevent illness when visiting animal exhibits, from the Centers for Disease Control:
If you are visiting an animal exhibit:
- Find out where hand-washing stations are located.
- Always wash your hands after petting animals or touching the animal enclosure, especially before eating and drinking.
- Always wash hands upon exiting animal areas even if you did not touch an animal.
- Running water and soap are best. Use hand gels if running water and soap are not available.
Food and drinks
- Keep food and drinks out of animal areas.
- Food should be prepared, served, and eaten only in areas where animals are not permitted (with the exception of service animals).
- Do not share your food with animals.
- Children younger than 5 years old need supervision
- Never allow children to put their hands or objects (For example: pacifiers) in their mouth while interacting with animals.
- Hand washing should be supervised.
- Do not take or use strollers, bottles, pacifiers, spill-proof cups, or toys in animal areas.
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