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Update: Here's what Rodeo Houston is doing to keep you healthy amid concern over coronavirus

"if you’re not feeling well or you're sick, we really want you to stay home," said Dr. Kelly Larkin who leads RodeoHouston's medical team.

HOUSTON — The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is preparing to welcome millions of people from all over the world. 

Gates open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. 

The rodeo happens during the annual flu season and, as daily news reports remind us, there are also concerns this year about the coronavirus.

"We’re learning more and more about Coronavirus and we’re looking at different things," said Dr. Kelly Larkin, who leads RodeoHouston's medical team. She reminds us that there are currently no confirmed cases of the virus in Houston but her team is in daily contact with the City of Houston's Public Health Department.

The organization also developed this webpage that contains helpful tips on visiting the Rode, along with links to both the Houston Health Department and the CDC's websites on Coronavirus. 

Dr. Larkin offers these tips to help keep you and your family healthy.

  1. Whether it's coronavirus, the flu or other common illnesses, the same rules apply, including washing your hands often. RodeoHouston has hand-washing stations and anti-bacterial gel dispensers set up all over the grounds. 
  2. Keep bacterial wipes handy to clean tables, carnival rides and other surfaces.
  3. Since concert crowds and the carnival midway keep people in close proximity to each other, remember to cough or sneeze into your elbow -- not your hand.
  4. "If you’re not feeling well or you're sick, we really want you to stay home," Dr. Larkin said. The rodeo runs for nearly three weeks so you have plenty of time to catch the action on the grounds of NRG.
  5. While rodeo food is a big draw, Dr. Larkin suggests people steer clear of sharing food and drinks. 
  6. "And if you’re sitting out here and you’re having one of our great meals, but you’re stepping away, just put a napkin over your food and cover it."
  7. Just in case someone nearby coughs or sneezes.
  8. Dr. Larkin says it's also important to keep your immune system strong to help you fight infection. So, choose healthy food options, stay hydrated and get enough rest.

The 88th annual event runs from March 3 to March 22.

In addition to the tips, The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo encourages proper hand-washing, as it is the number one recommended practice to stay healthy in any environment. The Rodeo provides hand-washing stations in AGVENTURE, near the petting zoo and pony rides, as well as outdoors near Fun on the Farm and Mutton Bustin’. We have increased the number of hand sanitizer stations that are located throughout AGVENTURE, The Junction and in the food tents. Hand sanitizer stations can also be found throughout the carnival. The Rodeo provides hand-washing instructions in the bathrooms and has added additional signage reminding guests to wash their hands near the bathrooms and the livestock stalling area. Guests are encouraged to wash hands before eating or drinking, and after touching animals or touching anything in surrounding environments.

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