Stay Healthy at the Fair

posted by Colette Rossiter on Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Are you planning to join thousands of others at the Clay County Fair in a few weeks?  I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t get excited for our local, one-of-a kind, amazing fair every September. 

Who doesn’t love the exhibits, the rides, the abundance of fun foods and, of course the animals?  It’s safe to say we touch A LOT of things at the fair!  My hope of that everyone who visits the fair takes home wonderful memories…. NOT a case of diarrhea or vomiting!  So let’s talk hygiene.

Hand washing seems like common sense. But it’s even more important when visiting the fair. 

Animals in exhibits and in the barns can be really fun and educational, but can also put you and your family at risk of germs that can make you sick, including E. coli and salmonella.  If you have children, you will likely spend time in Grandpa’s Barn. What a great setting to interact with farm animals!  Here’s a list of recommendations when visiting animal venues:

  • Thoroughly wash and dry everyone’s hands after petting animals and before eating.  Grandpa’s Barn has three sinks in the building for washing with soap and water. Even if you don't interact with any animals, germs can still be spread from surfaces around the exhibits.
  • Don’t take food or drink into animal areas.
  • Try to monitor your child’s hand-to-mouth activity (easier said than done, I know).  Thumbs, fingers, or objects in their mouths when around animal areas can transport germs quickly.  Once in the mouth, these germs can multiply and cause illness.  Children are most vulnerable to these types of gastro-intestinal illnesses, some of which can be very serious.
  • Leave strollers, toys, pacifiers, and cups outside animal exhibit areas. If you do wander through a livestock barn with your stroller, know that animal waste can get on the stroller and, you guessed it, you will take it home with you.  So it’s a good idea to clean off the wheels of your stroller when you get home.
  • Always supervise children around animals. Children 5 years old and younger should not have any contact with reptiles, amphibians, or live poultry because those animals are more likely to make them sick, according to the CDC.

In addition to the sinks in Grandpa’s Barn, the fairgrounds have soap and water hand washing available in all restrooms.  There are also many areas where hand sanitizers are present, including the entrances to all of the livestock barns.  Although not as effective in removing all the germs you may encounter, these are great to use when soap and water aren’t readily available. 

Need help locating a place to wash up?  Grab the Daily Activity Guide on your way into the fair.  Not only will the guide list the fun exhibits, shows and entertainment for the day, but a map of the grounds will show you where all the hand washing stations and restrooms are located.

Enjoy the fair!  And please…wash your hands!

About The Author

Colette Rossiter

Colette Rossiter, serves as assistant director for Spencer Hospital Community Health Services and Clay County Public Health. Colette has enjoyed the variety of responsibilities her nursing career has provided, yet has a passion for public health and safety.