Tag Archives: illness

DHEC in the News: Flu, US life expectancy

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

It’s not too late to protect yourself and others with a flu shot

With the spirit of giving resting upon us during this holiday season, there is no better public gift you can give than providing flu vaccinations for yourself and your family.

The annual flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your loved ones, and although we are already two months into the flu season, it is not too late to get vaccinated.

General Interest

Suicide, Drug Overdose Rates Bring US Life Expectancy Down

The suicide rate in the United States is at its highest in at least 50 years, and is contributing to a decrease in the nation’s life expectancy, the federal government said Thursday.

Life expectancy for the U.S. population declined to 78.6 in 2017, down from 78.7 the previous year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a new report.

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.

These Basic Flu Facts Can Help You Protect Yourself And Others

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

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. Protecting yourself against the flu also helps to protect your loved ones and others you come into contact with.

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

2. Some people at higher risk

Anyone, including healthy people, can get the flu, but 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.

3. 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

Remember, 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.

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

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

From Other Blogs: Breast Cancer Awareness Month, protect your hearing, flu & more.

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

Be Informed. Be Empowered.

Do you ever find yourself wondering what is right for you when it comes to breast cancer screening or treatment? Having the right information about prevention, screening, and treatment for breast cancer can help you decide what’s best for you.

As we observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I want to highlight how promoting the right tools not only gets the word out about breast cancer, but also empowers you in making the best decisions for your health.  —  From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s The Topic Is Cancer blog

October is “National Protect Your Hearing Month.”

October is “Better Hearing and Speech Month,” a time to raise awareness about what you need to do to protect your hearing.

Did You Know?

Repeated exposure to loud noise over the years can damage your hearing—long after exposure has stopped.

This is just one of the many informative facts available on CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health’s new hearing loss website: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/default.html. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

Never Miss a Flu Vaccine. Here Are the Reasons #WhyIFightFlu

The reason #WhyIFightFlu? It saves lives.

Americans experienced one of the most severe flu seasons in four decades last year with flu activity remaining high well into March 2018. Millions of Americans became sick with the flu, an estimated 900,000 were hospitalized, and 80,000 died from flu and its complications. — From the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) blog

3 Reasons Why Handwashing Should Matter to You

Most of us are familiar with the parental-like voice in the back of our minds that helps guide our decision-making—asking us questions like, “Have you called your grandmother lately?” For many that voice serves as a gentle, yet constant reminder to wash our hands.

Handwashing with soap and water is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to loved ones. — From the CDC’s Public Health Matters blog

School Lunch: Lots 2 Love

While many students were busy enjoying summer vacation, our nation’s hardworking school nutrition professionals were also staying busy, dedicating their time to training and meal planning for the upcoming school year. During National School Lunch Week (October 15-19), USDA recognizes the tireless effort and love that goes into preparing school lunches for 30 million children.

Well before our youngsters headed back to class, this past summer both the Minnesota Department of Education and the Montana Department of Public Instruction made the most of their Team Nutrition Training Grant funding. This is important funding that provides culinary job skills training for their respective school nutrition professionals. The trainings help school managers and cooks prepare healthy meals that use local foods in their menus, while reflecting regional and local food preferences. — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

5 tips to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 90 percent of adults and children do not consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Palmetto Health Heart Hospital dietitian Lisa Akly offers these tips to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Vaccination Remains Your Best Flu Protection

Fall means football games, colorful leaves, cooler weather, and pumpkin spice. It also means another flu season is upon us. The flu vaccine can keep you from getting sick with flu. Make getting your flu shot another fall tradition.

It’s important to know that the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of reactions. Most people who get a flu shot do not encounter problems. The most common reaction after the vaccine is soreness or redness where the shot was given. Some people may have some mild symptoms like fever or body aches after the shot, which may last for one or two days. It takes your body about two weeks to build up protection after you get vaccinated.

Getting your flu vaccine is easy in South Carolina. Most insurances, including Medicare Part B, cover the flu vaccine. You can get your flu vaccine from your health care provider, DHEC health departments or most local pharmacies. A prescription isn’t needed for children age 12 and older or adults to get their flu vaccine at the pharmacy (age may vary by pharmacy).

Flu vaccines at DHEC Health Departments are now available by appointment. Call 1-855-472-3432 to make an appointment.  To find a non-DHEC flu vaccine provider, go to http://flushot.healthmap.org/.