Safe farm visits

A lamb with its mother

Avoiding infections

Visiting farms can be great fun for the whole family but contact with farm animals carries a risk of catching infections from some bugs they carry naturally.

You can reduce this risk by washing hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after contact with animals and before eating and drinking. Hand gel or wipes are not a substitute for washing hands.

If you or anyone in your group are sick or have diarrhoea within two weeks of visiting a farm contact your GP or call NHS 111. For more information about safe farm visits, see the UK Gov website.

Types of infection

Cryptosporidiosis and Escherichia coli (E. coli) are some of the common bugs you can pick up when you visit a farm.

  • Cryptosporidiosis presents mainly as a tummy bug with abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • E.coli can be mild with a tummy ache or more serious with vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and kidney problems in children.

Preventing the spread of infection

If one of your family develops symptoms after a farm visit, it’s important to prevent spread by washing hands with soap and warm water:

  • after visiting the toilet
  • before and after preparing food
  • before eating and drinking
  • after contact with animals

Ensure that anyone with symptoms does not go to work, nursery or school until at least 48 hours after they’ve recovered. With a cryptosporidium infection, do not swim until two weeks after symptoms have stopped.

If you or your child becomes unwell within 2 weeks of a farm visit, please contact NHS 111.

More information

See the websites below for more information on symptoms, preventing spread and treatment: 

Your Wellbeing hub