Staying healthy at the Minnesota State Fair

Today kicks of 12 days of jam-packed fun, food and more at Minnesota’s Great Get-Together.

We’ll be at the Minnesota State Fair every day at our Making Safe Simple booth, located at Randall Avenue and Cosgrove Street, across from the Fine Arts building.

We love the Minnesota State Fair and so do our kids.  As always, taking a few safety steps can ensure a fun time while keeping children healthy.  With a higher than usual number of cases of pig to human influenza this year (without pig to human to human transmission) taking basic precautions in the pig barns is wise.  We balance risks and benefits of the things we do every day including preventing infections.  So take a minute to think it through for your family.

You might have heard from the Minnesota Department of Health that the state recorded its first confirmed and a second probable case of a new influenza strain that people acquire through contact with pigs. The cases were reported in a pre-school-age child and an older sibling. MDH officials believe they were likely exposed to the new strain from pigs while they were at an animal market (not at a fair).

Before we eat our first Pronto Pup, we asked our infectious disease and infection prevention guru and Nurse Practitioner Patsy Stinchfield for a few tips so we stay healthy while we’re at the fair.

  • Wash ‘em proud!  Clean hands are still the No. 1 way to prevent the spread of germs. Wash your hands after exposure to animals or animal barns and before touching your eyes, nose or mouth in any way.
  • People who are high risk for influenza complications should skip the pig barns this year.  This includes infants and pre-schoolers, the elderly, pregnant women, the immunocompromised and anyone with a neurological or difficulty managing their own saliva.
  • If you do go to the pig barns (we know we will), don’t kiss the animals.  We agree – they’re cute – but don’t smooch them (in fact, looking at the pigs from 6 feet away or more is safest).
  • Wash bottles and pacifiers in hot soapy water after they’ve been in an animal exhibit area.
  • Oh, and, pork chops on a stick do not cause influenza so enjoy!

The MDH and fair officials have also discouraged fairgoers or exhibitors from eating, drinking or placing anything in their mouths while in the animal exhibit areas.

We hope to see you at the fair!  Stop by our Making Safe Simple booth and say hi.

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