What does your Teton County Fair schedule look like?

American Ninja Warrior? Check. Whiskey Meyers concert? Check. Pet the 4-H animals? Also check.

If your fair-going experience includes petting animals — as it should — the Wyoming Department of Health wants you to remember to pause and wash your hands before you dig into eating that funnel cake.

“Every year we receive reports of diseases linked to animal-focused events,” department epidemiologist Courtney Smith said in a press release. “We want these occasions to remain enjoyable for everyone who attends.”

Illnesses like salmonella, E. coli, campylobacter and others can be picked up from contact with animals, regardless of whether it’s at the fair, the rodeo or any other public event that includes animals. With over a week of the fair still to go, the Health Department wants people to be able to focus on having fun, not feeling like they want to go home and lie down.

Symptoms from the illnesses are those of any gastrointestinal maladies and typically include stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable, the Health Department said. Though their origins are a bit gross to some, the department wants people to be aware.

“Many of the germs come from feces and only a tiny amount is required to make you ill,” Smith said in the release. “Even though your hands or clothes may not look dirty, you can still have enough germs on them to cause illness.”

With that out of the way, the fair is getting rolling this weekend. For those interested in animals, Saturday morning holds both a horse show and the dog agility show, where you can learn all the tricks your dog doesn’t know how to do yet. And Sunday has barrel racing and dressage, just to wet your whistle before the fair kicks into high gear Monday.

See the full schedule at TetonCountyFair.com.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-5902 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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