Tag Archives: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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.

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, sewer overflow, US mortality

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

Charleston Co. has most flu cases in S.C., DHEC says

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The flu bug is popping up in South Carolina, and while the season appears to be off to a slow start, state health department records show Charleston is leading the state in the number of cases.

Blockage causes sewer overflow into nearby waters, officials say

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Renewable Water Resources said Friday afternoon there was a sanitary sewer overflow in the area near North Pleasantburg Drive and Rutherford Road in Greenville.

The cause of the overflow was determined to be a blockage caused by a combination of grease and rags, which should not be discharged or flushed into the sewers, officials said.

General Interest

What’s Killing Americans? These 2 Things, According to a New CDC Report

Good news: Deaths from cancer and heart disease—by far the two biggest killers of Americans—are on the decline, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as are those related to HIV. But further analysis released by the public health agency Friday highlight two alarming trends for U.S. mortality: significant rises in gun and, especially, drug overdose deaths (with the latter driven by the ongoing opioid crisis in America).

Despite the drop in heart disease and cancer deaths, the overall death rate in the U.S. actually rose in in the year ending mid-2017 compared to a comparable period the previous year.

From Other Blogs: Preparedness and response workforce training, conservation easements, epilepsy

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Building the Future Preparedness and Response Workforce

When I think about public health preparedness and response I ask myself three questions: Who provides the infrastructure to train public health responders? Where do they learn what they know? Who helps a responder fulfill their mission? The answers to these questions may rest in the TRAIN Learning Network (TRAIN). — From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s  (CDC) “Public Health Matters Blog”

Landowners in Deep South Protect 700,000 Acres of Wetlands with USDA Help

Private landowners in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana have protected 700,000 acres of critical wetlands in the past 25 years, which accounts for one-third of all wetlands under USDA conservation easements in the country. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and several conservation partners recently celebrated this milestone by visiting one of the landowners who used a conservation easement to restore and permanently protect the wetland. — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Blog

Loving Someone With Epilepsy

When Zayan first told me that he has epilepsy, I didn’t believe him.  “You mean seizures, right?”  I was embarrassed at how much I didn’t know. Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that triggers recurrent seizures. It can be caused by different conditions that affect a person’s brain. —  From the CDC’s “Public Health Matters Blog”

Here are a few basic things you should know about the flu

No matter how healthy you are, you can be affected by the flu. No one is immune.

Keep that in mind as we move further into the 2017-18 flu season. If you have not gotten your yearly flu vaccine, now is a good time to do so because it can take up to two weeks for your body to develop a protective response and it is the best way to prevent the flu.

Here are some tips to help protect you and your loved ones from the flu this season.

  1. The flu and how is it spread

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The flu can cause mild to severe, even deadly illness — especially in vulnerable people. Symptoms can include fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion or stuffiness. 

Seasonal flu is usually spread from person to person. People who have the flu may spread it to others from about one day before they develop symptoms for up to seven days after.  Flu viruses are spread when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk spread respiratory droplets. Others become infected when these droplets are inhaled or enter the nose or mouth by touching with hands that have been soiled by the respiratory droplets.

  1. Some people at higher risk

While anyone, including healthy people, can get the flu, certain people are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu. This includes older people (especially people 65 years of age and older), young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease). While it is important for everyone to receive their yearly flu vaccine, it is especially important for people in these high risk groups to do so.

  1. Ways you can help prevent the flu

Remember, the best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get your flu vaccine each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DHEC recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get a yearly flu vaccine.

In addition, South Carolinians are encouraged to take the following preventive measures:

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home from work, school and errands if you are sick to avoid getting others sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue if one is handy; throw it away immediately after use. Otherwise, use the crook of your elbow to cover yourself.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when someone touches something that is covered with germs and then touches one of those areas.

Other good habits include getting plenty of exercise and sleep, managing your stress, drinking water and eating good food to help you stay healthy in the winter and all year.

  1. Places where you can get the flu vaccine

It’s important to get the flu vaccine not only to protect yourself, but also your loved ones from the seasonal flu. Even if you don’t have a regular health care provider you can still get the flu vaccine. In addition to DHEC, many local providers — including doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, college health centers, schools and workplaces — now offer flu vaccines. We encourage everyone to find the facility that works best for them.

Once again this flu season, like last season, the CDC recommends that the intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the “nasal spray,” should not be used.

To find the DHEC seasonal flu clinic nearest you, click here.

For more information: www.scdhec.gov/flu.