Tag Archives: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Set Goals To Help You Become Healthier This Holiday Season

Many Americans do not get enough physical activity or eat a healthful diet. Let’s begin to change that during this holiday season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges everyone to set goals aimed at improving their health and getting a new start on resolutions for the year to come.

The CDC suggests that you:

  1. Stay active. Being active can help make up for eating more than usual and has many other health benefits. Walking is a great way to be active. To incorporate more of walking into your routine park farther away from the store or office building and walk to your destination; take a few extra laps around the mall; or start your work day by taking the stairs.
  2. Eat healthy. Seek balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods even if they are high in calories, saturated fat, or added sugars. The key is eating them only once in a while or in small portions and balancing them out with healthier foods.
  3. Engage in activities that don’t involve eating. In addition to enjoying a meal with friends and family around the table, take the party outside and try a seasonal activity such as ice skating or take a walk downtown. If the weather prevents you from being outside, try mall-walking or visit a museum or botanical garden.

Adding a few new healthy traditions to your schedule can make a world of difference for the remainder of this year and next.

Visit the CDC’s website for more information on tips to help you be your healthiest self this holiday season.

Tips for caregivers during National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

It is not easy to care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. Frankly, it can be challenging. People with dementias might stop recognizing their caregiver or even have trouble feeding themselves, using the restroom or bathing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are now the sixth leading cause of death overall and the fifth leading cause of death among those over age 65. The CDC says nearly 6 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s, a number predicted to nearly triple by 2060.

As the number of people with Alzheimer’s continues to increase so will the need for caregivers. And those caregivers will need guidance and resources to meet the challenge.

Tips for caregivers

With November being National Alzheimer’s Month, this is a good time to encourage caregivers and provide them with helpful tips. Here are some tips from the CDC website:

You might not be recognized. Sometimes people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia may forget certain people while remembering others. Try not to take it personally if you aren’t recognized.

Try to meet the person where he or she is. It’s best not to correct an Alzheimer’s patient about what year it is, where they are, or other things. This can cause agitation and reduce trust.

Routine is important. Alzheimer’s patients are usually most comfortable with what they know and are familiar with. Try to avoid major changes.

Discuss behavioral changes with the doctor. Some behaviors, such as aggression, can be related to undertreated pain, or may be side effects of various medications.

Above all, practice self-care. Your loved one needs you to be healthy to provide the best possible care.

More information and resources

The CDC provides various resources for caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias, including Dementia Dialogues — a program that began with the University of South Carolina’s Prevention Research Center.

Visit the CDC’s website for more information and resources for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s.

Handle Your Turkey, Leftovers Safely This Thanksgiving

As you gather with family and friends to break bread this Thanksgiving Day, DHEC wants to make sure you avoid any food-handling issues that could result in illness.

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.

Here are some tips to consider before, during and after you fry your turkey.

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.

From Other Blogs: Reducing preterm births, debunking flu vaccine myths, breast cancer & more

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

Mission Possible: Reducing Disparities in Preterm Births in the United States

In 2001, a woman was transported to a Georgia hospital in preterm labor. She delivered a baby boy at 34 weeks gestation, six weeks before her due date. However, before this baby’s early birth, she was given medications to help her baby’s lungs mature more rapidly, and to slow down the labor. After her baby boy was delivered, his breathing was normal and he went home with his parents five days later. His name is Joseph, and he is my first son, born to my husband, Joe, and me.

Modern medical technology contributed to my successful preterm delivery outcome, but despite a wealth of medical resources, the United States has relatively high rates of preterm birth. Recently we’ve been losing ground in the fight to reduce preterm births, particularly among infants that are born late preterm (between 34-36 weeks gestation). — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Conversations in Equity blog

Debunking Flu Vaccine Myths

Now is the right time to get a flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sporadic flu activity is already being reported in 42 states across the nation, including South Carolina. The flu vaccine is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from the flu. But a lot of people choose not to get it, saying it will give them flu symptoms or that it’s not worth it because doesn’t always work against all strains of the flu. In this WLTX news report, Dr. Joshua Prince of Lexington Family Medicine, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, debunks these flu vaccine myths. — From the Lexington Medical Center blog

What you need to know about breast cancer

Did you know breast cancer affects 1 in every 8 women? This statistic might sound scary, but it probably does not come as a surprise. You can probably think of at least one person in your life who has been affected by breast cancer. The good news is the survival rate for people with breast cancer has been steadily rising since the 1990s. Julian Kim, MD, senior medical director of Oncology Services with Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group, shares information about breast cancer screenings and advancements in breast cancer treatment. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Workers Using Prescription Opioids and/or Benzodiazepines Can Face Safety and Health Risks

The opioid crisis that faces the nation has a great impact on workers and NIOSH has a comprehensive program to address opioids in workers. One issue of concern is workers who use prescription opioids and/or benzodiazepines for medically appropriate reasons.

Workers who use either prescription opioids or benzodiazepines or a combination of prescriptions for both of these drugs, for medical reasons, can face safety and health risks in U.S. workplaces, which employ 160 million people across all occupations [1].

Opioids treat moderate-to-severe pain, and benzodiazepine medications (sometimes called “benzos”, including diazepam and alprazolam) are sedatives often used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and other conditions [2]. In particular, patients with combined prescription use of both drugs may be more likely to become addicted or to die from an overdose [3]. — From the CDC’s NIOSH Science blog

DHEC in the News: Flu, Drug Take Back Day, paralyzing illness

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

DHEC offers free flu shots at three locations Friday

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has set up three walk-in clinics for South Carolinians in the Upstate, Midlands and Low Country.

Free flu shots clinics will be held in Greenville, Lexington and North Charleston on Friday.

Residents urged to dispose of unused medicine

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging residents to drop off unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs at participating locations around the state during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

General interest

Doctors have a No. 1 suspect for paralyzing illness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it doesn’t know what’s causing a sudden rise in cases of a frightening, polio-like condition that leaves children paralyzed or with weakened limbs.

The No. 1 suspect had been a virus called enterovirus D68, or EV-D68. In 2014, a wave of cases of acute flaccid myelitis coincided with outbreaks of EV-D68 across the country.

But the CDC says it has not consistently found EV-D68 in confirmed cases since then. Officials say they’re looking at a range of possible causes.