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Petting zoos are a popular spot for children during the summer and fall. While learning about animals and how to interact with them is fun and valuable, it’s also important to remember that animals can expose children to potentially serious illnesses. E. coli, salmonella, giardia, and worms are among the 30-plus diseases that can be spread by animals. Some children also may have allergic reactions to animals.
Keep children (and adults) healthy when interacting with animals by following these tips:
Even animals that appear healthy can have germs in their hair or fur, mouth, manure, drinking water, or habitat. Assume every animal carries germs that could make you ill. Approach animals with respect and caution, as even normally non-aggressive animals can be provoked into biting or scratching. Never let children interact with petting zoo animals unsupervised.
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