Avoiding Fair Illnesses
For many people in Michigan, summer fun consists of visiting a local or county fair, eating massive amounts of fried food while there, and petting every single animal we meet. What’s not fun? Contracting an illness from a fair animal.
Remember to take simple precautions to stay safe around all fair animals:
Refrain from eating or drinking in livestock barns or show rings.
Do not take toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, strollers or similar items into swine areas. Anyone who is at high risk of serious flu complications and is planning to attend a fair should avoid pigs and swine barns.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Avoid contact with pigs if you have flu-like symptoms.
If you are sick, stay home from work or school until your illness is over.
Avoid close contact with sick people.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it and wash your hands.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Persons who become ill with influenza-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, body aches, vomiting or diarrhea after exposure to animals, especially pigs, should check with their doctor and ask about being tested for influenza. In severe cases pneumonia, and even rarer cases, death may occur. High-risk persons such as children younger than five years of age, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological conditions should contact their doctor as soon as possible. Also, contact your local health department to report the illness as well.
For more information on swine influenza, or contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at 800-292-3939.