An Azle family wants to warn others after both their young boys were hospitalized with E. coli earlier this year.
"It's awful. You can't do anything but just sit there and watch your child hurt," said Emily Miller.
Miller's sons Brayden, 7, and Dylan, 5, were both diagnosed with an E. coli infection, and Dylan's case impacted his kidneys. Miller said he required dialysis, and he was hospitalized for 27 days, including several nights in the ICU.
"It's such a crazy thought that this could happen," Miller said.
She was surprised by the intensity of the illness, but also by where her boys may have come into contact with E. coli. She said doctors believe they were likely contaminated while the family was visiting a petting zoo.
"I wasn't aware that you could get it from animals and livestock," Miller said.
She took the boys to the petting zoo back in January, and four days later her oldest was in the hospital.
Both brothers are now doing well, though Dylan is still on blood pressure medicine due to the illness, Miller said.
The Centers for Disease Control says petting zoos do pose risks, as livestock can carry E. coli bacteria. The CDC's advice is to wash hands with soap and water immediately after being near animals, whether you touch them or not.
The CDC also says that soap and water is more effective than instant hand sanitizers, and if sanitizers are the only option, go ahead and use them but follow up with soap and water as soon as possible.
Miller had used hand sanitizer with her kids instead of washing after visiting the zoo back in January. Now, she says their petting zoo days are done.
"I won’t go to any more of them ever," she said. "But the best advice, if you absolutely have to go, is wash your hands with soap and water."
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