Contact: Crossing Rivers Communications
“Among the favorite areas to visit at county fairs or community celebrations are the animal exhibits. Unfortunately, many people become sick because of a visit to an animal exhibit. It is important to remember that animals sometimes carry germs that are harmful to humans,” explains Heidi Kirschbaum, RN, ER Clinical Services Director at Crossing Rivers Health, Prairie du Chien.
She warns area residents to use caution while visiting the livestock exhibits at the fairs. She states, “When people forget to wash their hands after petting an animal or bring food into an area where animals at being housed, they are at risk for becoming ill. Remember to always wash your hands with running water and soap after petting animals or touching the animal pens or cages, especially before eating and drinking. If water and soap are unavailable, use hand gels.”
“Some people are more likely than others to get diseases from animals and need to be extra cautious,” adds Kirschbaum. “A person’s age and health status may affect his or her immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick. These people include infants and children less than five-years-old, elderly, pregnant women, people undergoing treatments for cancer, people who have received organ transplants, and people with HIV/AIDS. Individuals at higher risk of diseases from animals are encouraged to use extra caution around farm animals.”