Planning a trip to the San Diego County Fair this year? While you're thinking about fried foods, funhouse rides and food demonstrations, don't overlook these five essential items for a safe and healthy day on the midway.
1. Comfortable shoes
You're going to do a lot of walking. Comfortable, close-fitting shoes with a cushion sole and good arch protection are a safe bet — flip-flops are not. Even with the best footwear, your feet may be sore at the end of the day. Treat them as you would after working out.
2. Sun protection
Even on overcast days, sun protection is a must. Dr. Catherine Sundsmo, a family medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Del Mar recommends that you bring sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and reapply often to exposed parts of your body, including the back of the neck, arms, legs and tops of the feet. Wearing a broad-brimmed hat can protect the top of the head and provide shade on your face as you are walking around the fair.
All of that walking, snacking and looking can leave you dehydrated, especially on a warm sunny day. Bring a water bottle for each person in your group, and fill it throughout the day.
4. Healthy snacks (even if you plan to splurge)
Fair food is notoriously unhealthy. A deep-fried splurge once a year isn't terrible, but think about some healthier choices, too. Pack granola bars or small snack items that don't need refrigeration to keep you sated throughout the long day.
"When you do eat at the fair, strive to make healthy choices," says Dr. Sundsmo. "Choose corn on the cob or grilled meat instead of the deep-fried foods or heavily sugary treats. If you do want to indulge, have a small portion, such as an ice-cream cone, or split something bigger with a friend."
5. Comfort items for small children
A long day at the fair can be exhausting for adults, but especially for small children who are used to quiet breaks during the day. The sights, smells and sounds can also be a distraction for children with sensory processing disorders. Pack a small comfort blanket, stuffed animal or toy that is familiar and can be easily carried to soothe a tired and cranky tyke.
And don't forget to bring your good hand hygiene. "It is important to wash your hands with soap and water after leaving the livestock area or after petting any animals," Dr. Sundsmo says. "Hand sanitizer is great to use after touching any surfaces, and especially hand sanitize or wash hands before eating to prevent spread of germs."
For the news media: To talk with a Sharp expert about health and safety tips for the fair, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.