FAMILIES are reminded to enjoy their farm visits safely by ensuring good hand hygiene after touching animals or their surroundings.
The advice comes from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in the North East, ahead of the petting farm season and bank holiday weekend.
Outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness associated with contact with farm animals peak in the spring and summer, during school holidays when visits to petting farms are more popular.
Dr Bob Adak, head of the gastrointestinal diseases department at the HPA, said: “Farm visits can be a very enjoyable experience for both children and adults, and a few simple precautions will help avoid illness and ensure everyone enjoys a fun day out.
“Children need to be carefully supervised to ensure they don’t put their hands in their mouth directly after petting the animals, which naturally carry germs.
“When everyone has finished petting and handling the animals, they need to wash their hands thoroughly using soap and water and dry them before eating.”