The advice has been issued by Public Health England East ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend and petting farm season.
Dr David Edwards, consultant in health protection at PHE East, said: “Visiting a farm can be great fun for all the family, especially at this time of year when we are approaching petting season, but people should be aware that contact with farm animals carries a risk of infection because of the bugs they naturally carry.
“Unfortunately in the spring/summer months we often see a rise in cases of gastrointestinal infections including cryptosporidiosis, E.coli 0157, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Giardia.
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“Make sure to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after contact with animals, especially before eating and drinking.
“We all should still be following the current government Covid-19 guidelines anyway, of washing hands, wearing face coverings, keeping a social distance and meeting outdoors where the risk is much lower – the ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ rule.”
“If you or anyone in your group is sick or has diarrhoea within two weeks of visiting a farm, please contact your GP or call NHS 111 as soon as possible.”
When visiting farms, it is important to remember to:
. Read and listen to the advice provided by the farm
. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after you have touched animals, fences or other surfaces in animal areas
. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating or drinking
. Remove and clean boots or shoes that might have become soiled, clean pushchair wheels and then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
. Supervise children closely to ensure that they wash their hands thoroughly
. Eat and drink in picnic areas or cafes only.
Try not to:
. Put hands on faces or fingers in mouths while petting animals or walking round the farm
. Kiss farm animals nor allow children to put their faces close to animals
. Eat or drink while touching animals or walking round the farm - including not eating sweets, crisps or chewing gum
. Eat anything that has fallen on the floor
. Use gels or wipes instead of washing hands with soap and water as they do not remove the germs found on farms.