Fairs, Zoos, and Parks—Summer Germs

With all the outdoor play and adventure, summer presents some health hazards unique to the season. Bug bites and bee stings are one reality we have to contend with—but so are all the germ and illness possibilities of outdoor events like fairs, festivals, zoos and parks.

Germs and viruses live longer in warm conditions. Add this to the fact that children may be spending more time in outdoor locations where they are away from soap and water for long stretches and you’ve got a recipe for all sorts of “creeping crud”—as my mother used to call it.

Any place where children will be coming into contact with animals demands special care. Petting zoos, county and state fairs, farms, etc.—are all places where children may pet or touch animals, and then, without washing hands, ingest all sorts of germs or potential for illness. Places where kids pet animals and then eat are really potentially icky (county and state fairs, parades, etc.)!

Keeping antiseptic wipes handy is one way to help cut down on the germ danger, as is encouraging kids to take a time out and wash hands—especially after playing in dirt or public water supplies (fountains, lakes, rivers, etc.) and petting or riding animals. Make sure kids also have plenty of fresh water to drink and health snacks so they are not tempted to try to drink dirty water or put other unsafe things in their mouths.

Of course, there is likely no need to be neurotic about outdoor activities during the summer—some of my own children’s best memories are of trips to fairs and festivals during the summer months—but a little precaution and concern can keep them from getting sick, as well as learn good habits for keeping themselves healthy during the warm season.

See Also: Gearing Up For Bugs and Bites

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