National Public Health Week- Day 3

Each year, the first week of April serves as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health. Check back each day this week to learn more about what some local health districts are doing this year to celebrate public health and focus on making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation:

Richmond City Health District

Richmond City Health District (RCHD) is taking a different approach this year and bringing focus to one single topic: how the kinds of neighborhoods we live in create (or limit) our ability to pursue health and well-being. RCHD has partnered with 21 other organizations who are all in the housing space, or are deeply interested in the topic of mixed-income and mixed-use communities, for a campaign called The Power of Home. The campaign will include a spread in Style Weekly, 4 podcasts with local and national housing experts, social media messaging across all mediums, an email newsletter to 700 + RCHD contacts and an interview with RCHD Health Director Dr. Danny Avula on WRIR (97.3) on Monday, April 9 at 12pm. Learn more about RCHD and The Power of Home at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/richmond-city/.

National Public Health Week- Day 2

Each year, the first week of April serves as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health. Check back each day this week to learn more about what some local health districts are doing this year to celebrate public health and focus on making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation:

Crater Health District

Crater Health District is offering a packed schedule of National Public Health Week events this year, including a Health Education Outreach Fair, Farmer’s Market stands at local health departments, workshops, community conversations, and even a Public Health Parade! See the full schedule and learn more at www.craterhd.net

National Public Health Week – Day 1

Each year, the first week of April serves as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health. Check back each day this week to learn more about what some local health districts are doing this year to celebrate public health and focus on making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation:

Chesapeake Health District

As part of both National Public Health Week and National Start Walking Day, Chesapeake Health District (CHD) is partnering with Portsmouth Health District for a walk across the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge on Wednesday, April 4 at 10am. For more information, call 757-382-8650. CHD is also taking their FREE Family Planning Express service to Southside Baptist Church in South Norfolk every 2nd and 4th Thursday, no appointment necessary. Learn more at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/chesapeake/.

Keep Foodborne Illness at Bay on Super Bowl Sunday

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

 

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

january is cervical cancer awareness monthCervical 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.

Be Food Safe This Holiday Season

food safety graphicFood 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:

Happy Handling

  • 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.

Eating Out?

Follow these four tips from CDC to prevent food poisoning:

  1. Check inspections online for the restaurant you plan to go to. Restaurant inspection data for Virginia is available by health district here.
  2. Make sure that the restaurant is clean. If not, you may want to visit a different establishment.
  3. Check that your food is completely cooked. Send back any undercooked food, as it may contain harmful bacteria.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers within 4 hours of eating. Eat leftovers within 3 to 4 days from purchase.

View our My Meal Detective videos to learn how to prevent and report foodborne illness. For more information on general food safety, visit the VDH Food Safety page and:

CDC- Food Safety Tips for the Holidays and Tips for Your Holiday Turkey

FDA- Food Safety Tips for Healthy Holidays

FightBAC.org- Holiday Food Safety Resources (includes recipes and kids games and activities)

FoodSafety.gov- Thanksgiving and Winter Holidays

USDA- Seasonal Food Safety

Open Enrollment

If you get medications or health insurance through Virginia ADAP, call Benalytics at 1-855-483-4647 for help enrolling in a health care plan today! Benalytics is available Monday-Friday 8A-7P Eastern Time and on Saturdays 9A-1P Eastern Time. ACA open enrollment ends on December 15, 2017.

National Influenza Vaccination Week

CDC Get A Flu Shot Graphic (superhero arm with a bandaid) National Influenza Vaccination Week is a great time to make sure that you have had your flu shot this year and encourage your friends and family to get theirs. Getting a flu shot every year is the single best way to prevent the flu. It not only protects your health; it protects the health of those around you. Everyone age 6 months and older should get a flu shot.

Even if you got a flu shot last year, it’s still important to get one this year. The flu vaccine is updated every year to provide protection from the flu viruses that are likely to be circulating and causing disease. Also, your body’s level of immunity from a vaccine received last year will have declined.

You can find out where to get a flu shot in your area by

Be familiar with the symptoms of flu and the people most at risk from flu complications, including young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions. If you fall into one of those groups, make sure you get vaccinated promptly, and treated promptly if you do get the flu.

There are also simple steps you can take to help prevent the spread of flu:

  • Always cover your cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • Wash your hands
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that get touched a lot, such as door handles, countertops, and faucets.
  • If you feel sick, stay home from work or school

Learn more about the Flu and how to care for you and your loved ones.