Keep Illness At Bay Over Easter Holiday

Armen Hareyan's picture

Easter Candy

Too much Easter candy might not be the only cause of your child's "tummy ache," the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.

"Easter season is associated with the gift of baby chicks and ducks to children," said Julie Schlegel of DHEC's Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology. "With the increased demand for chicks and ducklings at Easter, there is also an increase in the possibility of children becoming infected with salmonella."

According to Schlegel, health officials encourage parents and loved ones to reduce the risk of illness by giving stuffed toys instead of live animals.

"To meet the demand for young animals during the Easter season, chicks and ducklings are hatched and shipped in mass quantities," Schlegel said. "The stress on the animals increases the likelihood of shedding salmonella bacteria, which can infect people, especially children."


According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention many chicks and ducklings carry salmonella but don't show any signs of illness.

"They usually appear clean, but children can be infected when they touch the chicks and then put their fingers in their mouths, so anyone who touches a young bird should immediately wash their hands," Schlegel said. "Caregivers should keep pacifiers, toys and bottles away from pets and wash them immediately with warm, soapy water if they do come in contact with a pet or someone who has handled an animal."

DHEC also recommends the following tips to reduce your family's risk of illness at Easter:

If you're planning an Easter egg hunt, prepare your eggs with care:


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