Your health is often tied to the animals, plants and environment in which you work


Researchers have discovered a creative way to reduce the greenhouse gas contributions of cows. The answer, they say, lies in seaweed, a widely available product that grows around the world. (Getty Images)

Today marks the sixth annual “One Health Day,” a time to promote awareness of the relationship between human, animal and ecosystem health.

Four North Dakota agencies are banding together to encourage North Dakotans to recognize the health connections between people, animals, plants and the environment.

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality and the North Dakota Department of Health offer a series of tips on how to stay healthy — not just yourself, but your family and animals:

  • 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.

More information on these and other health topics are available at the websites of the four state agencies.

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