Post Eagle Newspaper


May 22, 2024

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New Jersey

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Health Alert:
Don’t Get Sick After
Visiting Petting Zoos

Fall weekends are perfect for visiting festivals, agricultural/state fairs and farms to pick pumpkins and apples. Petting zoos and animal exhibits are often attractions at these events.  Unfortunately, even healthy animals can sometimes carry germs, which can lead to people getting sick after their visit. Outbreaks of E. coli infections have been associated with touching animals at these types of events.

The simplest way to prevent illness is to wash hands frequently during your visit. Since germs spread easily, be sure to wash hands immediately after petting animals, touching the animal enclosures and/or exiting the animal areas. Wash hands even if you did not touch any of the animals. Avoid eating, drinking and touching your eyes and mouth until you have washed your hands thoroughly. If running water and soap are not available, use hand sanitizers until you can get to a sink to wash properly.

Keep food and drinks out of the animal enclosures. Germs can spread to food and cause sickness. Remember not to drink or eat products sold as raw (unpasteurized); this includes apple cider, milk, cheese and juice. When buying food from a vendor, be sure it is cooked thoroughly before eating. Food poisoning is a common health risk at public events.

If you suspect illness, do not wait until symptoms occur or waste time looking up information on the Internet. Call the NJ Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for help anytime day or night. The poison control center is the go-to resource for poison-related exposures and poison prevention information; providing fast, expert, medical treatment advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round.

“I want the public to be prepared for emergencies, questions or concerns,” says Diane Calello, MD, NJ Poison Control Center Executive and Medical Director, Rutgers NJ Medical School. “Keep us at your fingertips. Save the Poison Help number (1-800-222-1222) as a contact in your cell phone.”

Help is Just a Phone Call Away!

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The New Jersey Poison Information & Education System