The Maine CDC is warning of an outbreak of salmonella that's been tracked to live poultry, so a bottle of hand sanitizer is a good idea if you're heading to the fair.

The salmonella outbreak is nationwide and involves 212 cases, one of which was reported in Maine, of several different strains of the illness. Health officials say that people are becoming infected through backyard chickens and ducks. And you don't have to touch the birds to come in contact with salmonella. Just spending time in their environment can transmit the illness into your body.

If you're like me, you enjoy strolling through the agricultural section of the local fairs, and so a little hand sanitizer used after leaving the poultry barn could help you avoid getting sick.The Maine Center for Disease Control advises washing your hands thoroughly after coming in contact with live poultry, if at all possible. But that sanitizer might keep the germs at bay until you can get to a bathroom.

Besides, let's face it, any gathering like an agricultural fair is a great place to pick up germs of all kinds. Kids are running around, sticking their hands on every surface. You're using water guns that have been touched by hundreds of other hands, or grabbing onto a ride's sweaty safety bar. A little Purell on your hands after the ride or game isn't going to hurt you, but it might prevent you from getting sick.

Find more agricultural fair season safety tips on the Maine CDC's website.

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