The Washington State Department of Health is reminding Tri-Citians to wash their hands after coming into contact with animals at area fairs.
“Even healthy animals can spread E. coli and salmonella bacteria to people, which can make them sick,” said Ron Wohrle, public health veterinarian for the Department of Health. “By following some basic safety tips, you can enjoy the animals at the fair and stay healthy.”
Washing hands with running water and soap is the best way to prevent illness, according to a news release.
People can pick up bacteria and viruses when they touch animals or their surroundings and then put their hands or a contaminated object in their mouth or nose, according to the release.
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Pregnant women, older adults, young children and anyone who has an underlying illness should be especially cautious. Children under age 5 should be supervised to make sure they don’t put hands or objects, like a pacifier, in their mouths while interacting with animals.
Stroller wheels can also pick up germs from animal areas.
Call a health care provider if a family member becomes sick after coming in contact with animals. For more information, go to doh.wa.gov.