Summer is the season for county and state fairs, where people flock to
enjoy concerts, carnival rides, exhibits of all kinds (and yes, fair food).
But a fun day at the fair can be spoiled if you have to leave early because
you don’t feel well. But, as
Alex Zand, MD, an internal medicine physician with
St. Joseph Hospital Affiliated Physicians in Orange says, some simple preparations can help you make a day, and
night, of it at the fair. (It will probably take you that long to win
the giant stuffed animal at the ping-pong ball toss game). Dr. Zand’s tips:
Stay out of the sun. Bring sunscreen and reapply often to exposed parts of your body, including
the back of the neck, arms, legs – even the tops of your feet if
you are wearing sandals. “A hat is also a great idea to protect
the top of your head and add extra protection for your face as you are
walking around the fair,” Dr. Zand says.
Drink a lot of water. “It’s hot out and you’re covering a lot of ground at
the fair, so it’s important to stay hydrated,” Dr. Zand says.
Buy water at the food booths, or you can usually bring your own bottle
and refill it. Check your local fair’s website to see the rules
on bringing in outside beverages; for instance, the Orange County Fair
allows visitors to bring drinks as long as they are in plastic containers.
Wash your hands. The sheep, goats and baby pigs on exhibit are cute, but after visiting
them it’s important to wash your hands. “Immediately after
leaving the livestock area, you should clean your hands—soap and
water are best but hand sanitizer will do in a pinch, as long as you do
wash up properly at some point before you eat,” Dr. Zand says. In
addition, children should be supervised so they don’t try to pet
an animal they shouldn’t and get a nip on the finger or touch dirty hay.
Avoid bugs. If you’re at the fair at night, have some insect repellant on hand
to ward off mosquito or other bug bites.
Take care. The tilt-a-whirl may look like a thrill, but it can also lead to motion
sickness. “Carnival rides can cause dizziness or nausea if your
senses get mixed
signals—for instance, when a ride is traveling fast while also spinning
upside down,” Dr. Zand says. “It can help to avoid eating
a lot before going on a fast ride and you should try taking deep, measured
breaths to calm your nerves. Dry crackers can also help settle the stomach.
If you feel woozy after getting off a ride, find a cool place to sit and
sip some water until you’re better.”
Finally, there’s the food. “Fair food is notoriously tempting, with so many fried or sugary
treats,” Dr. Zand says. “To prevent overindulging, eat a well-balanced
meal before going to the fair and bring plenty of healthy snacks, such
as nuts, granola bars or grapes, to keep you feeling full throughout the
day. Drinking plenty of water will also help.” When you do eat at
the fair, strive to make healthy choices—grilled corn or kabobs
instead of chocolate-covered bacon or burgers with deep-fried doughnuts
for buns. “If you do want a treat, have a small portion, such as
an ice-cream cone, or split something bigger with a friend.”
For more information about St. Joseph Hospital Affiliated Physicians, please click
here. For more information about Dr. Zand, please click
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.