* I raised pigs one year when I was in 4-H. My grandfather and my uncle raised pigs. One of my good friends raised two pigs with his 4-H son this year. I helped out for a couple of days with those pigs and it reminded me that I really don’t like pigs all that much. I did have a lot of fun, and I’ll certainly do it again. They’re great people and I’ve enjoyed being back on a farm again. It’s just that I much prefer cattle. They smell better, at least to me.
Anyway, a friend of mine and I cut through the swine barn at the Illinois State Fair last night to get out of the rain. My friend literally hugged a pig while I took a photo. It was all great fun. Everybody was smiling, including the little girl who owned the pig and another friend who walked by while I was trying to take the picture.
Not long after that we had a conversation which went a little like this…
Me: Hey, did you wash your hands after hugging that pig?
Friend: Ha! No! I’m touching you!
Me: Agh!!! Don’t touch me with those pig hands! Wash your hands, man! Get away from me! Wash! Get away! Wash! Don’t touch me! No! Wash! Help! Mom!!!
I really, totally freaked out. Those who know me are probably laughing because I’m not a germaphobe at all. I can only guess that my dislike of pigs finally got the better of me last night. My friend did wash after my freakout and I’ve since apologized. I’m not so sure that I’ve been totally forgiven, however. I was a bit on the weird side.
* And then I saw this…
The Illinois Department of Public Health says a child in the state has been diagnosed with a new strain of swine flu after attending a fair in Coles County.
As the Illinois State Fair ramps up in Springfield, the department is urging patrons to take precautions to avoid the flu which is spread from contact with pigs. Mark Ernst is the state veterinarian for Illinois. He says the State Fair is doing its part to combat health risks:
ERNST: “We’ve notified our staff that works the livestock exhibits, we do go through and check in the livestock. They’re aware of the possibility of influenza in swine and so they’ll certainly be more vigilent in looking for any type of respiratory infections or conditions that may be present in the swine.”
Hand-washing stations will be set-up in many spots throughout the fairgrounds. The flu’s symptoms are said to be similar to that of the regular seasonal flu. And the Illinois boy with the disease has not been hospitalized. Dozens of cases in other states have been reported. There is no vaccine for this strain of swine flu. The state’s health department says it’s possible, although rare, that the flu can also be spread between humans.
Wash your hands, man.