Fairgoers can keep the county fair fun by washing their hands,
especially after petting animals and before eating.
(DieselDemon - Flickr - CC 2.0)
The 80th Marion County Fair opened today. The fair, which runs through July 31, offers Indianapolis area residents a chance to enjoy food, rides, music, and a sense of community spirit. Unfortunately, the mixture of heat, food, and animals also offers the potential for illness.
"Food and the fair naturally go together and we encourage our residents to support the fair. We have just one request -- make sure to wash your hands often," said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director, Marion County Health Department., in a July 20 press release.
"Along with the food, being able to touch and experience a variety of animals, handmade items and rides mean our hands come in contact with many different surfaces. This makes hand washing critical," said Dr. Caine. "The fair has public restrooms available and I also recommend individuals take hand sanitizer with them to ensure hands remain clean throughout the fair visit.”
E. Coli possibly linked to another Indiana county fair
The importance of proper hand washing while at the fair was made even more apparent by the news of two children who became critically ill with E. Coli after visiting the Rush County fair in late June. While the mother of one of the children made sure her daughter used hand sanitizer after petting the animals at the fair, the child may have ingested some of the bacteria while biting her fingernails.
"My daughter, she chews on her fingers and that's the main way they get it because it gets underneath their fingernails,“ said Angel Campbell-Ragan in an interview with WISH-TV 8 reporter Rick Dawson.
Proper hand washing techniques
The CDC recommends using warm water and soap whenever possible when washing hands. Lather the soap between the hands for at least 20 seconds (one chorus of the “ABC” song) and be sure to cover all surfaces, including under the nails. After rinsing, use a clean paper towel or air dryer to dry the hands.
When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, rub the sanitizer over all surfaces of the hands and fingers until the hands are dry.
Always wash hands after petting animals, before eating, after going to the bathroom, or after handling anything that looks dirty or was previously touched by someone who appeared to be sick.
Video: WISH-TV 8 Indianapolis news coverage of a child who became ill after visiting another Indiana county fair