A Day Without Water

hands holding coffee cup, black and whiteNeed coffee? Then you need water. On October 12, try to Imagine a Day without Water. Then find out more about the Virginia Department of Health Office of Drinking Water, working year-round to help Virginia’s drinking water treatment plants provide clean running water. The mission of the Office of Drinking Water is to protect public health by ensuring that all people in Virginia have access to an adequate supply of clean, safe drinking water that meets federal and state drinking water standards.

Rabies Awareness

Golden Retriever and British ShorthairSeptember 25-October 1 is Rabies Awareness Week in Virginia. Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system, and is most commonly found in wild animals, such as raccoons, foxes and skunks. Virginia’s Rabies Awareness Week centers around World Rabies Day, which falls this year on September 28.

There are many ways you can prevent and control the spread of rabies:

  • Have your veterinarian vaccinate your dogs, cats, ferrets, and selected livestock. Keep the vaccinations up-to-date.
  • If your pet is attacked or bitten by a wild animal, report it to the local health or animal control authorities. Be sure your vaccinated dog, cat, or ferret receives a booster vaccination.
  • Limit the possibility of exposure by keeping your animals on your property. Don’t let pets roam free.
  • Do not leave garbage or pet food outside. It may attract wild or stray animals.
  • Do not keep wild animals as pets. Enjoy all wild animals from a distance, even if they seem friendly. A rabid animal sometimes acts tame. If you see an animal acting strangely, report it to your local animal control department and do not approach it.
  • Contact your local health department if you think you or your pet may have been exposed.

Test Your Food Safety IQ This September

September Food Safety Education Month www.cdc.gov/foodsafety cdcThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists “Safer and Healthier Foods” as one of the Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century.  September is National Food Safety Education Month and National Family Meals Month, and we use this month to celebrate our accomplishments and to educate on the importance of good food safety habits.

 

 

 

Think you know your food safety facts? Take our quiz to find out how much you know!

Question 1: How many Americans get sick each year from foodborne illness?

Answer: It’s estimated that 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick each year! 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.

 Question 2: Which group(s) of people are more likely to get food poisoning or to get seriously ill from it?

Answer: E. All of the above. Learn about why these groups are more at risk on CDC’s website:

CDC- Prevent Food Poisoning (en español: CDC- Prevenga la intoxicación alimentaria)

  1. Children under age 5
  2. Adults age 65 and older
  3. People with weak immune systems
  4. Pregnant women
  5. All of the above

 

Question 3: Pregnant women are __________ times more likely to get a Listeria infection.

Answer: C. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get a Listeria infection. Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes

  1. 2
  2. 5
  3. 10
  4. 20

 

 Question 4: One out of __________ children diagnosed with E. coli O157 infection develops kidney failure.

Answer: B. One out of seven children diagnosed with E. coli O157 infection develops kidney failure. These are life threatening infections that can be prevented. Learn how to protect yourself and your family from E. coli infections here.
  1. 5
  2. 7
  3. 10
  4. 15

Question 5: What are the top 4 contributing factors to outbreaks in restaurants?

Answer: Contributing factors are behaviors, practices, and environmental conditions that lead to outbreaks. Knowing the contributing factors can help us stop outbreaks and prevent future ones.

The top four contributing factors to outbreaks in restaurants are:

  1. Sick food worker contaminates ready-to-eat food through bare-hand contact.
  2. Sick food worker contaminates food through a method other than hand contact, such as with a utensil they contaminated.
  3. Sick food worker contaminates ready-to-eat food through glove-hand contact.
  4. Food handling practices lead to growth of pathogens, such as food not kept cold enough.

Want to learn more food safety tips? Check out My Meal Detective for short videos that will help you learn how to prevent and report foodborne illness. For more information on general food safety, visit the VDH Food Safety page and:

Adults: Vaccines are not just for kids

National Immunization Awareness Month. Adults Need Vaccines, too! Vaccines are not just for kids.

All adults should get vaccines to protect their health. Even healthy adults can become seriously ill and pass diseases on to others. Everyone should have their vaccination needs assessed at their doctor’s office, pharmacy, or other visits with health care providers. Certain vaccines are recommended based on a person’s age, occupation, or health conditions (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes or heart disease).

Vaccination is important because it protects the person receiving the vaccine and helps prevent the spread of disease, especially to those who are most vulnerable to serious complications (such as infants and young children, the elderly, and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems).

Resources:

World Breastfeeding Week

Sustaining Breastfeeding together. world breastfeeding week.

August 1-7, 2017 is World Breastfeeding Week.  This year’s theme is Sustaining Breastfeeding Together.  This year’s theme is about the importance of community and family support in a woman’s effort to breastfeed.  As a collective, family, government, healthcare providers and employers all shift and impact a mother’s experience with breastfeeding.

 

Breastfeeding provides babies the perfect nutrition, and everything they need for healthy growth and development.  Breastfeeding is good for mom too and reduces her risk for certain cancers.  The commonwealth of Virginia protects the rights of families to breastfeed whenever and wherever baby is hungry.

Babies and Young Children: A healthy start begins with on-time vaccinations.

 

National Immunization Awareness Month. Vaccines give parents the safe proven power to protect their children. A Healthy Start begins with on-time vaccinations. The first week is focused on babies and young children. Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from 14 serious diseases before they turn 2 years old.

  • Vaccinating your children according to the recommended schedule is one of the best ways you can protect them from 14 harmful and potentially deadly diseases like measles and whooping cough (pertussis) before their second birthday.
  • Children who don’t receive recommended vaccines are at risk of (1) getting the disease or illness and (2) having a severe case of the disease or illness. You can’t predict or know in advance if an unvaccinated child will get a vaccine-preventable disease, nor can you predict or know how severe the illness will be or become.
  • Vaccines don’t just protect your child. Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, health care professionals and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community – especially babies who are too young to be vaccinated themselves.

Get Ready to Grill Safely During National Grilling Month

Did you know July is National Grilling Month? Summer is a great time for outdoor events and activities, but it’s also peak season for foodborne illness. Follow these tips for a safe and healthy grilling season:

 

 

Separate

Raw meat, poultry, and seafood items should be the last items to go in your grocery cart. Separate these raw food items from other food in your shopping cart and grocery bags. Use individual plastic bags for each raw food item to protect against cross-contamination.

Chill

Keep meat, poultry, and seafood refrigerated until you are ready to grill. Keep these items below 40°F during transport and use an insulated cooler.

Clean

Wash your hands with soap before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Don’t forget to also wash work surfaces, utensils, and the grill before and after cooking.

Cook

Meat and poultry color is not a good indicator of safety. Use a food thermometer to check that meat is cooked enough to kill harmful germs. If you use a smoker, keep temperatures inside the smoker at 225°F to 300°F to keep meat a safe temperature while it cooks.

  • 145°F – whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (stand-time of 3 minutes at this temperature)
  • 145°F – fish
  • 160°F – hamburgers and other ground beef
  • 165°F – all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs

After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot at 140 °F or warmer until it’s time to serve.

Check your grill and tools

Clean the grill with a moist cloth or paper towel before cooking. Bristles from wire bristle brushes can also dislodge and stick into food the next time you cook. Check the grill’s surface before cooking to make sure no wires are stuck.

Don’t cross-contaminate

Toss marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat juices to avoid spreading germs to cooked foods. Harmful bacteria in raw meat and juices can contaminate cooked food; use clean utensils and a clean plate to remove cooked meat from the grill.

Check out My Meal Detective for short videos on these tips and learn how to prevent and report foodborne illness. For more information on grilling and general food safety, visit the VDH Food Safety page and:

Protect the Skin That You’re In

Sunscreen is a proven way to protect yourself against sunburns and skin cancer. Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection. Remember to reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, and toweling off.

National HIV Testing Day

Knowledge is power. national Hiv Testing Day. June 27. Virginia>AIDS

When the first test for HIV became available in 1985, it was known how HIV was spread, but not how to treat it.  Thirty years later, there are now three dozen medications to treat HIV.  People at high risk for HIV infection can take 1 pill a day to prevent getting HIV.  It is called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP.  Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%.  For people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%. Learn about PrEP effectiveness at Virginia > AIDS Let’s talk About PrEP.

Getting an HIV test has never been more important.  Most new HIV infections occur among persons who are unaware of their HIV status.  Early detection of HIV is crucial for HIV-positive persons to remain in good health.  For this reason, the CDC recommends that anyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once in their lifetime.  CDC recommends those that may be at higher risk get tested more often. A general rule for those with any risk factors is to get tested at least once a year.

Learn about HIV testing options in Virginia.  Virginia locations offer both free and low-cost options with results ready in as little as one minute.  In recognition of National HIV Testing Day on June 27th, take some time out of your day to get your test for HIV.  Feel free to use the testing locator on this page to find a testing location near you.  Together, we can all do our part to end the HIV epidemic in Virginia.