Monthly Archives: November 2017

Safe Food Handling for Thanksgiving

By Adrianna Bradley

While Thanksgiving Day is full of family get-togethers, giving thanks, and lots of food, we want to make sure you avoid any food-handling issues that could potentially result in your family and friends becoming ill.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food-handling errors and inadequate cooking are the most common problems that lead to poultry-associated foodborne disease outbreaks in our country.

There are several things to remember before, during and after you fry your turkey this holiday.

Don’t buy the bird too early

If you bought your turkey fresh, keep it in the refrigerator (40° F or less) and cook it within one to two days. If you bought your turkey frozen, to thaw it safely in the refrigerator, allow for a thaw rate of 4-5 pounds per day. For example, for a 12-pound bird it will take 2.5 to 3 days in the refrigerator to thaw. It should then be cooked within one to two days.

You can thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave. Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter. A frozen turkey is safe indefinitely, but a thawing turkey must defrost at a safe temperature. When the turkey is left out at room temperature for more than two hours, its temperature becomes unsafe as it moves into the danger zone between 40° F and 140° F, where bacteria can grow rapidly.

Safely Cook Your Turkey

Set the oven temperature to at least 325° F. Place the completely thawed turkey with the breast side up in a roasting pan that is 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Cooking times will vary depending on the weight of the turkey. To make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165° F, check by inserting a food thermometer into the center of the stuffing and the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat.

Turkey Frying  

When working with large amounts of hot oil, select a cooking vessel large enough to completely submerge the turkey without it spilling over. The oil should cover the turkey by 1 to 2 inches. Select a safe location outdoors for deep frying a turkey. Heat the cooking oil to 350° F. Very slowly and carefully lower the turkey into the hot oil. Monitor the temperature of the oil with a thermometer during cooking. Never leave the hot oil unattended.

Allow approximately 3 to 5 minutes of cook time per pound. When reaching approximate time needed, check to see if the turkey is safely cooked by removing the turkey from the oil, draining the oil from the cavity and with a food thermometer, check the internal temperature of bird. DO NOT test the temperature while the turkey is submerged in oil.

Monitor Your Leftovers

After dinner, remember to follow the two-hour rule. For safety, do not leave the turkey or other perishable foods sitting out at room temperature longer than two hours. Refrigerate your leftovers at 40° F or colder as soon as possible to prevent food poisoning.

If you have any questions about keeping your leftovers safe, you can check out the USDA’s FoodKeeper app. It’s available on Android and Apple devices. The app provides storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, for more than 500 products.

DHEC in the News: Food waste, smoking cessation, rabies

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Don’t Waste Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving don’t toss your leftovers. Food waste is the No. 1 item thrown away by Americans and DHEC leads an effort to cut down on food waste across South Carolina. If you’ve tired yourself out from creating new recipes with your Turkey Day leftovers, try feeding people instead of our landfills.

DHEC offering free resources to quit smoking

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control celebrated the Great American smokeout by reminding people of the resources it offers for those looking to quit smoking. The American Cancer Society sets aside the third Thursday in November to encourage tobacco users to quit.

Bat potentially exposes person to rabies in Spartanburg

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — Health officials say a person may have been exposed to rabies in Spartanburg earlier this month.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said a bat was found between Converse Heights and Beaumont Village in downtown Spartanburg on Nov. 7.

Quenching Your Taste Buds: Healthier Thanksgiving Meal Options

By Adrianna Bradley

It’s that time of the year again when we gather with family and friends around dinner tables covered with a spread of foods to quench every taste bud possible. And while you’re sharing all the things you’re thankful for, we want you to also be thankful for the gift of good health this holiday.

Thanksgiving can be a stressful time for those who are trying to reach their feel great weight. With so many delicious foods tempting you, it’s hard to stick to your healthy habits. No need to worry. We have you covered with these healthy alternatives for your dinner table. Click here to view a few healthier, lighter, and nutritious meals.

Also, here are some tips on how you can make your Thanksgiving Day more active.

How to stay active this Thanksgiving:

  1. Walk after your meal: A brisk walk will help you burn some calories while also putting you in the right mind to turn down that second piece of the pie. Invite some family and friends to join you.
  2. Walk around and talk to people: Instead of obsessing over the food, walk around and catch up with family and friends. Take full advantage of the once-a-year sightings of some family members.
  3. Volunteer to help clean up: Instead of picking at leftovers or contemplating on getting seconds, offer to help clean up. Cleaning can help you burn some calories.
  4. Don’t overeat; stop when you’re full: Instead of seeing how much you can eat, serve yourself a small golf-ball size serving of everything you want. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays when people overindulge themselves with food.

CDC Recommends Taking Three Actions To Fight The Flu

If you haven’t gotten a flu vaccine this season, now is a good time to get one. Anyone can be affected by the flu regardless of how health they are.

The contagious disease can lead to hospitalization — and even death. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

Getting vaccinated annually is the No. 1 way to combat the flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking three actions to protect against the flu:

1) Take time to get a flu vaccine.

DHEC and the CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine, which can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu.Flu-boygettingshot

It is especially important for high-risk persons to be vaccinated to reduce the risk of severe illness. People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.

2) Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick, limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.Child-Washing-Hands
  • If you are sick with flu symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

3) Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. These drugs are different from antibiotics; they are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.

Visit CDC’s website to find out more about the flu and the three actions it recommends to fight it.

Flu vaccines offered at DHEC Health Department clinics are available by appointment. Call 1-800-868-0404 to make an appointment or go to www.scdhec.gov/flu/fluclinics to find the location closest to you. To find a non-DHEC flu vaccine provider near you, go to flushot.healthmap.org. You can also find more information about preventing the flu on the DHEC website at www.scdhec.gov/flu.

DHEC in the News: Flu, America Recycles Day, more sand for beach

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

First Flu-Related Death Confirmed In South Carolina, How To Protect Yourself

Columbia, SC (WOLO) – The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed the first flu-related death of the season.  The individual that passed away because of the flu was in the upstate, but DHEC says people can never be too cautious when it comes to the nasty virus. They said young children, pregnant women, people 65 years or older and those with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease are the ones most at risk.

Solid Waste Authority hosts America Recycles Day

In celebration of America Recycles Day, the Solid Waste Authority, in conjunction with SC DHEC and the SC Commerce Department hosted an America Recycles Day/Don’t Waste Food Day. The outreach event is being held to help educate Horry County about food waste and how to reduce their waste personally.

Most people do not realize that food waste is the number one item thrown away across America. The amount of food wasted in a year is a staggering 38.4 million tons, it accounts for over 20% of our country’s waste. South Carolina, itself produced over 600,000 tons of food waste last year.

Looking for a better beach? This popular one has been approved for some TLC

More sand will be coming to Hilton Head Plantation after taking “a major hit” from Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Irma, according to the November newsletter for the plantation.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the plantation’s application to place additional sand on Pine Island Beach, and to install a boardwalk from the Dolphin Head Recreation area to the Pine Island Ithmus, the newsletter said.