Are you ready for winter weather? Take this time to prepare before a winter emergency hits to reduce the risk of weather-related health problems and injuries. Learn more about preparing yourself and loved ones for winter weather here.
When emergencies like hurricanes hit Virginia, there are ways you can help. One way is by joining the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). Virginia’s MRC is a force of dedicated volunteers who stand ready to support the community in the event of a public health emergency. Each of Virginia’s 27 local MRC units is comprised of teams of medical and public health professionals who, along with interested community members, volunteer their skills, expertise and time to support ongoing public health initiatives and assist during emergencies throughout Virginia. Learn more and sign up.
Super Bowl Sunday implies food, fun and football, but it can also bring a fourth ‘F’: foodborne illness. The good news is that this does not have to be the case. Follow these winning food safety plays and you will be ready to score a ‘win’ for food safety on game day:
- Have a good game-day warm-up by keeping things CLEAN. Before you eat or handle food, wash your hands, food prep tools and surfaces. Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water to avoid spreading bacteria to other surfaces. Also wash cutting boards, utensils and other surfaces before and after each use.
- SEPARATE raw meat and poultry from ready-to-eat foods to keep up a good defense. Be sure to use clean and different utensils for each dish.
- Avoid a false start- COOK to the correct temperature. Use a food thermometer to check that foods cook to the right temperature. This includes cooking to 165°F for chicken and 160°F for ground beef.
- Watch the clock to stay CHILL. Throw away perishable foods that sit at room temperature for more than two hours, or one hour if it’s 90°F or warmer. Also, take a timeout before halftime to check that food is out of the “danger zone” between 40°F to 140°F.
Follow these tips and you’ll be ready to score a touchdown for food safety!
For more information on general and Super Bowl food safety, visit the VDH Food Safety page and:
- CDC- Game Day Food Safety Tips
- FoodSafety.gov- Super Bowl
- USDA- Don’t Let the End Zone Become the Danger Zone: Your Guide to Hosting a Penalty Free Super Bowl Party
Cervical Cancer Awareness Month is an annual observance in January to raise awareness of cervical cancer prevention, causes, diagnoses, treatments and survivorships. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report more than 12,500 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014. Women between the ages of 21 – 65 should receive a routine cervical cancer screening with a Pap smear every 3 years; women ages 30 – 65 can also receive a Human Papillomavirus (HPV) test with their Pap smear every 5 years. HPV is a common virus that causes nearly all cervical cancers. Protect yourself and loved ones from cancerous types of HPV by getting the HPV vaccine; people between the ages of 9 – 26 old can receive the HPV vaccine. Keep yourself and your loved ones free from cervical cancer and HPV by talking with your doctor about getting a Pap smear and the HPV vaccine.
Los Angeles County officials last week reported that a woman had been infected with the Zika virus by her partner, in the first case of sexually transmitted Zika virus in the county. A man who lives in L.A. County traveled to Mexico and became infected with Zika in early November, and shortly afterward his female partner, who didn’t travel to Mexico, also developed the infection, officials said. Learn more
(CNN)More than 63,600 lives were lost to drug overdose in 2016, the most lethal year yet of the drug overdose epidemic, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health officials today reported a sixth case of meningococcal disease infecting a student enrolled at Oregon State University in Corvallis, and are encouraging undergraduate students during winter break to receive vaccinations for meningococcal B disease.
“Oregon State University takes the health and welfare of its students, employees and the general public very seriously,” said Steve Clark, OSU vice president for university relations and marketing.
“Effective immediately, Oregon State University will require all of its Corvallis students 25 and younger to be vaccinated for meningococcal B disease by Feb. 15,” he said. “Prior to this latest case, vaccinations were encouraged for all OSU students 25 years and under, but required for all incoming first-year students and transfer students.” Learn more
Food safety is important for keeping your holiday gathering happy and healthy. However, food safety can be a challenge during the holiday season. Group gatherings may include more dishes than there is room for in the refrigerator or oven. Guest lists may also include those who are more vulnerable to illness, such as older people, young children, and pregnant women.
Follow these tips for a food-safe, happy holiday season:
- It’s flu season! Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of germs, using soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria from raw poultry, too.
- Wash all fresh produce to reduce the potential for bacterial contamination.
- Don’t forget to also wash utensils and work surfaces to protect your food and family!
Let’s Talk Turkey
Follow the tips in the infographic (right) to make sure your turkey is both delicious and safe to serve.
Cooking for a large group?
- Prepare uncooked recipes before recipes that include raw meat. Also, store uncooked items out of the way while preparing meat dishes. These steps will help to reduce cross-contamination.
- Cook to the proper temperature, and use a thermometer!
- Remember the golden rule: Keep hot food hot and cold food cold! Use chafing dishes or crock pots and ice trays. Hot items should stay above 140 ˚F, and cold items should stay below 40 ˚F.
- Discard perishable foods left out for 2 hours or more. Plan to refrigerate any leftovers within 2 hours of preparation.
Follow these four tips from CDC to prevent food poisoning:
- Check inspections online for the restaurant you plan to go to. Restaurant inspection data for Virginia is available by health district here.
- Make sure that the restaurant is clean. If not, you may want to visit a different establishment.
- Check that your food is completely cooked. Send back any undercooked food, as it may contain harmful bacteria.
- Refrigerate leftovers within 4 hours of eating. Eat leftovers within 3 to 4 days from purchase.
FightBAC.org- Holiday Food Safety Resources (includes recipes and kids games and activities)
USDA- Seasonal Food Safety