Staying safe in Summer

During the summer months, we look forward to enjoying more time outdoors, attending events and taking holidays.

These are simple ways to stay safe throughout the summer and keep illnesses at bay:

Visiting a farm is a fun and educational experience for many people, particularly children. However, visiting a farm carries a small risk of catching infections from animals or the environment. Farm animals can be the source of several bugs such as E. coli, cryptosporidiosis and salmonella that can be passed from animals to humans and cause illness. Some of these infections can be particularly serious for children or pregnant women.

Infection can be picked up from the animal’s body, its poo or from areas where animals have recently been. If the bugs are on your hands, you could accidentally pass them to your mouth.

Washing your hands with soap and warm water (for at least twenty seconds) more frequently and after you have had contact with animals will reduce the risk of infection. Remember that hand gels and wipes are not a substitute for washing your hands with soap and water.

What to do when visiting a farm

  • do wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after you have interacted with animals, fences or other surfaces in animal areas
  • do wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating or drinking
  • do remove and clean boots or shoes that might have become soiled and clean pushchair wheels. Then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
  • do supervise children closely to ensure that they wash their hands thoroughly
  • do eat and drink in picnic areas or cafes only
  • do not put hands on faces or fingers in mouths while petting animals or walking round the farm
  • do not kiss farm animals or allow children to put their faces close to animals
  • do not eat or drink while touching animals or walking round the farm and do not eat anything that has fallen on the floor
  • do not use gels or wipes instead of washing hands with soap and water. Gels and wipes do not remove bugs in dirt


What should I do if I feel unwell after a farm visit?

  • If you or anyone in your group feels unwell or has any symptoms, for example is sick or has diarrhoea within 2 weeks of visiting a farm, contact your GP or call NHS 111 as soon as possible.
  • If you or anyone in your group, particularly a young child, has bloody diarrhoea, seek immediate emergency medical attention.
  • Anyone who has experienced sickness or diarrhoea after visiting a farm could pass the illness on to others, so they should not attend work, school or nursery until they have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.
  • For some specific infections, extra tests may be needed to ensure the person has fully recovered and will not pass on the infection to others before starting back at work, school or nursery.
  • People who handle food, children under 5 years and those who work closely with people who may be vulnerable to infections should discuss with their GP or local health protection team before returning to work, school or nursery.

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Ticks are small, spiderlike creatures that feed on the blood of animals, including people. During the feeding process these bites can transmit infections such as Lyme Disease.

Ticks can be found in many different outdoor environments, but they are particularly common in grassy and wooded areas. You may be more likely to be bitten if you take part in activities such as hiking, cycling or camping, but ticks can also sometimes be found in urban gardens and can be bought into homes with their pets who may pick them up while out or on a walk.

Ticks become more prevalent from April to June in the UK, and during this period the risk of getting a tick bite is at its highest.

What is Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is an infection spread by some ticks. You can catch Lyme Disease when bitten by an infected tick, particularly when spending time outdoors in green spaces. Although Lyme disease should not deter you from enjoying the outdoors, you can reduce your chance of infection by following precautions.

How to prevent being bitten by a tick

The chance of getting a tick bite when enjoying outdoor activities can be reduced by:

  • regularly checking clothing and exposed skin for ticks that might be crawling on you and brushing them off immediately.
  • walking on clearly defined paths to avoid brushing against vegetation where ticks may be present.
  • wearing light-coloured clothing so that ticks crawling on clothing can be spotted and brushed off immediately.
  • using an insect repellent (for example DEET) that can repel ticks and prevent them from climbing onto clothing or attaching to skin (always follow the manufacturer’s guidance).
  • wearing long trousers and long-sleeved tops to reduce the direct exposure of ticks to your skin, making it more difficult for them to find a suitable area to attach.

How to spot Limes Disease or an infected bite

Lyme disease symptoms include a spreading circular red rash, which may appear as a bulls-eye rash, as well as non-specific flu-like symptoms. Other signs to look out for include muscle or nerve pains or a drooping facial appearance when the nerves to the muscles around the upper part of the face are affected. An infected bite will appear red and may be swollen. If you are concerned about a tick bite, please seek medical advice.

Summer is a great time to enjoy meals and BBQs with family and friends. Keep safe and prevent food poisoning by following good food hygiene practices such as washing your hands, cooking meat properly, and avoiding cross-contamination.

What is food poisoning?

Food poisoning is rarely serious and will usually get better within a week. It’s caused by eating something that has been contaminated with various bacteria including Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli.

Contamination can happen by germs if food:

  • is not cooked or reheated thoroughly.
  • is not stored correctly, e.g., it's not been frozen or chilled.
  • is left out for too long.
  • is handled by someone who's ill or has not washed their hands.
  • is eaten after its "use by" date.

What are the symptoms of food poisoning?

  • feeling sick and/or being sick
  • diarrhoea
  • stomach cramps
  • a high temperature of 38C or above
  • feeling generally unwell e.g., feeling tired or having aches and chills

Symptoms usually start within a few days of eating the contaminated food however sometimes they can start after a few hours or not for a few weeks.

Tips to prevent food poisoning:

  • Handwashing before preparing food and after handing raw meat can help prevent bacteria spreading.
  • Make sure that meat is not left outside of the fridge for long periods of time.
  • Make sure meet is cooked properly before eating.
  • Keep raw meat and ready to eat foods separate to reduce the risk of spreading bacteria.


  • Stay off school or work until you've not been sick or had diarrhoea for at least 2 days.
  • If you also have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.

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