Families reminded to maintain good hand hygiene when visiting farms this Easter

Lancashire's Director of Public Health is reminding families to maintain good hand hygiene when enjoying the great outdoors and visiting farms this Easter.

As we approach the Easter break and with Spring upon us, people will be spending more time with loved ones and engaging in outdoor activities, with farms being a popular destination for families.

While animals can be a source of joy for our children, they can also carry harmful bacteria that cause a range of illnesses.

Hand washing with soap and water is the most effective way to remove bacteria, parasites, and viruses after touching animals. Hand sanitising gels and wipes are fine for everyday use in clean areas, but they don't work against the infections you might come across on farms. 

Dr. Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health at Lancashire County Council, emphasizes the importance of proper handwashing: "Handwashing is essential to ensure good health and hygiene.

"When visiting farms, regardless of whether you come into direct contact with animals or not, always wash your hands with warm water and soap instead of using hand sanitizing gels or wipes.

"This practice significantly reduces the risk of infections and keeps you and those around you safer." 

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi - DPH for Lancs
Dr. Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health at Lancashire County Council

Here are a few tips to help you and your family prioritise hand washing this Easter break:

  • Create a hand-washing routine: Make hand washing a regular part of your family's daily routine, especially after playing with animals, before meals, and after using the bathroom.
  • Teach proper technique: Show your children the proper hand washing technique, which includes scrubbing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, rinsing thoroughly, and drying with a clean towel.
  • Make hand washing fun: Use colourful, kid-friendly soaps, sing songs, or create a reward system to make hand washing an enjoyable experience for your children.
  • Be a role model: Children often learn by example, so be sure to practice proper hand washing yourself and invite your child to join you.
  • Share the message: Encourage your friends, family, and colleagues to prioritize hand washing over hand sanitisers, especially when interacting with animals.
  • Promoting hand washing this Easter break can create a healthier environment for ourselves, our families, and our community. 
  • Regardless of whether you have had direct contact with an animal, it is essential to thoroughly wash your hands before eating.