November 3 marks the sixth annual One Health Day, a Global Day of Action to promote awareness of the relationship among human, animal and ecosystem health. The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA), the North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDGF), the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ) and the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) encourage the public to recognize the interconnection of people, animals, plants and the environment they share.
“One Health Day is an opportunity to provide education and raise awareness of health hazards both people and animals face while highlighting the importance of illness prevention efforts,” said Laura Cronquist, epidemiologist with the NDDoH.
The NDDA, NDGF, NDDEQ and NDDoH recommend the following tips to keep you, your family and your animals healthy:
- Practice good hand hygiene. Washing your hands is one of the best ways to stay healthy and prevent spreading germs. Always wash your hands with soap and clean, running water after having contact with animals, their food and their environment.
- Keep your animals healthy. Make sure your animals get a good diet, fresh water, shelter, and exercise. Regular veterinary care, including vaccination, is also important for animals.
- Decrease the risk of rabies exposure by making sure your animals are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. Keep stray animals and wildlife, especially skunks, away from pets and livestock. Always enjoy wildlife from a distance.
- Watch for blue-green algae blooms in bodies of water used by people, pets, and livestock during the summer and early fall. Avoid contact with a bloom and report the location to the NDDEQ.
- Always use antibiotics as directed by your health care provider or veterinarian. Antibiotics save lives, but any time antibiotics are used in people, animals, or the environment they can lead to antibiotic resistance.
- If you work with or around farm animals have a set of dedicated footwear, gloves, coveralls, or other work clothes that you use just for working in animal areas. Remove them as soon as possible after leaving animal areas.
- Avoid harvesting wildlife that appear injured or unhealthy and wear rubber or latex gloves while field dressing game.
- Stay home if you feel sick to avoid spreading germs to others.
To learn more about One Health Day, please contact the NDDoH Division of Disease Control at 701.328.2378, the NDDA Animal Health Division at 701.328.2655, the NDDEQ at 701.328.5150 or NDGF at 701.328.6300.