Tips to Keep your Family Safe and Healthy this Holiday Season
More than 46 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving Day. Combine the turkey with a number of side dishes and desserts, and it is by far the largest and most stressful meal many people make all year. This can leave room for mistakes that can make family and guests sick.
Turkey, other meat and poultry may contain bacteria, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, which can lead to serious foodborne illness. Properly handle and cook the turkey and other dishes to make sure your family has a safe and healthy holiday season.
Follow these five steps:
1. Wash your hands, but not your poultry. The easiest way to stop the spread of bacteria is to wash your hands before cooking.
2. Do not wash the turkey, chicken, or goose. This is the easiest way to spread bacteria all over the kitchen. Studies show that washing meat or poultry can splash bacteria around your kitchen by up to 3 feet. This bacteria can go on towels, countertops, and other food. Washing doesn’t get rid of bacteria from the bird. Cooking the meat to the correct inner temperature will kill bacteria.
3. For ideal safety, do not stuff the turkey. Even if the turkey is cooked to the correct inner temperature, the stuffing inside may not have reached a temperature high enough to kill the bacteria. It is best to cook the stuffing in a separate dish.
4. Take the temperature of the bird. The only way to make sure your turkey is cooked to the correct inner temperature is to use a food thermometer. Take the bird’s temperature in three areas: the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the wing and the innermost part of the thigh, to make sure all three areas are at 165ºF. Cook the turkey as long as needed until ALL three areas reach 165ºF.
5. Follow the two-hour rule. Do not leave foods that spoil easily on the table or countertops for more than two hours. After two hours, food falls into temperatures between 40-140ºF. This is called the Danger Zone. This is where bacteria can quickly grow. If that food is then eaten, people could get sick. Cut turkey into smaller slices and refrigerate along with other foods, such as potatoes, gravy and vegetables. Leftovers should stay safe in the refrigerator for four days.
If you have questions about your Thanksgiving dinner, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert. You can also visit FoodSafety.gov to learn more about how to safely pick, thaw, and prepare a turkey.
Protect You & Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Posioning
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is the most common cause of deadly poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 450 people die each year and 20,000 experience other injuries because of CO poisoning. Carbon monoxide is often called the “invisible killer” because it is odorless and some of the symptoms are similar to the flu. People can be exposed to CO when charcoal, gas, oil, or wood are burned in poorly ventilated areas.
On average, carbon monoxide poisoning sends about 500 Wisconsinites to the emergency room each year, according to data from the Wisconsin Environmental Public Health Tracking Program. These trips to the ER for carbon monoxide poisoning are preventable when people are prepared.
To protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide, follow these safety tips:
- Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors. All homes and duplexes in Wisconsin are required to have detectors on every level, including the basement, but not the attic or storage areas. Detectors can be purchased at most hardware stores for $20-50. Daylight Savings Time is a good time each year to replace the batteries in your detector and push the “Test” button to be sure it’s working properly. Replace your detector every five years or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have your furnace or wood-burning stove inspected annually. Hire a professional to make sure it is functionally sound and vents properly outside the home.
- Never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside your home or garage. Any heating system that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide. Use a battery-powered detector where you have fuel burning devices but no electric outlets, such as in tents, cabins, and RVs.
- Generators should be run at a safe distance (at least 20 feet) from the home. Never run a generator in the home or garage, or right next to windows or doors.
- Never run a car in an enclosed space. Even with a door or window open, carbon monoxide levels can still build up to an unsafe level.
At high levels, carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes. Symptoms of overexposure to carbon monoxide include headache, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, and confusion. If you think you may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, or your detector sounds an alarm, head outside immediately for fresh air and call 911.
Visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website for more information about carbon monoxide poisoning.
Tips to Protect Yourself Against the Flu
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu. People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
The following are other tips on how to stay healthy this flu season:
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, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners can also help.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs can spread this way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
Stay home if you are sick until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100°F or 37.8°C) or signs of a fever (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).
Follow public health advice in regards to school closures, avoid crowds and other social distancing measures.
The Northwoods Dental Project is in Action!
Preventive dental services including screenings, sealants and fluoride will be provided for FREE to all participants in 2nd and 6th grades. Sign up at https://sealasmile.wisconsin.gov/Consent. Once there, click on the link that states: "Sign my child up now"
- Phelps 9/19/2018
- North Lakeland Elementary 10/3 – 10/4/2018
- Arbor Vitae Woodruff Elementary 11/1 – 11/2-2018
- Northland Pines-Eagle River 11/28 – 11/30/2018
- Northland Pines-Land O’Lakes 12/3/2018
- Northland Pines-St. Germain 12/11/2018
For more information, go to our Dental page: https://www.vilaspublichealth.com/index.php?page=Dental-Services
Ticks are Still Out
The weather is becoming warmer and the deer ticks are beginning to become more active. Ticks live in wooded, brushy areas that provide food and cover for small animals and deer. Ticks are unable to jump or fly and usually attach to a host at ground level.
Common Tick Diseases
Some people can develop two or more of these diseases at the same time.
Symptoms include a bulls-eye rash, fever, headache, chills, muscle pain and joint pain. The bulls-eye rash, one of the earliest symptoms, typically appears between 3 and 30 days after the tick bite. Not everyone with Lyme disease develops the rash.
Human Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis
Symptoms include a sudden onset of a high fever (102 degrees or more), chills, severe headache and muscle aches. These symptoms appear between 1 and 3 weeks after an infectious tick bite. However, not all people have symptoms.
Although people of all ages can get anaplasmosis, it is most severe in the elderly. If left untreated, it can result in organ failure and death.
Symptoms include high fever, muscle aches, beign tired, headache and loss of appetite. Symptoms usually appear between 1 and 6 weeks after a deer tick bite, but may take longer in some individuals. Most people infected with the babesiosis parasite will have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. People who are immune compromised may develop severe illness. Babesiosis can be fatal.
Powassan (POWV) Virus
Symptoms include a sudden fever, muscle weakness, confusion, headache, nausea, vomiting, and stiff neck. Severe illness can include confusion, paralysis, speech difficulties, memory loss, and meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain and meninges). These symptoms usually appear between 7 and 14 days but can go up to 34 day, after being bit by an infectious tick.
People who are infected with POWV may have a variety of symptoms, from mild illnesses to life-threatening complications; some people may not have any symptoms.
Steps to Protect Yourself from Tick Diseases
- Know when you’re in tick habitat—brushy, wooded areas—where you will need to take precautions.
- Use a good tick repellent, such as a product containing permethrin or DEET, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Wear clothes that will help to shield you from ticks. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants are best. Tuck your pants into the top of your socks or boots to create a “tick barrier.”
- Check frequently for ticks and remove them promptly. This is an important step in preventing disease.
- Remove the tick slowly and gently using a pair of tweezers. Folk remedies like Vaseline, nail polish remover, or matches are not safe or effective methods of tick removal.
If you develop signs or symptoms of a tick-related illness after spending time in areas where deer ticks are found, you should seek medical attention right away.
Not all deer ticks carry the organisms that cause Lyme disease, human anaplasmosis, or babesiosis. If an infected deer tick bites you, it needs to be attached at least 12-24 hours to transmit the human anaplasmosis bacteria and 24-48 hours to transmit the Lyme disease bacteria. Not every person who is infected with these organisms will develop symptoms.
- How to Remove a Tick
- WI Department of Health “Tick”
- WI Tick Safety Guide
- WI Tick Safety Guide Spanish
Tips for Food Safety in a Power Outage:
Survivors of Suicide Support Group Meets in Rhinelander
Has someone you love taken their own life? Are you troubled with questions like, “why?”, “what brought this on?”, “why my family?”. Do you find yourself with no one to talk to about your frustrations and confusion regarding the suicide of your loved one? Then you are a Survivor of Suicide (SOS) and have a safe place to go to discuss your issues.
The SOS support group was started in July of 2005. The group is facilitated by Sue Mackowski, a Certified Bereavement Specialist and Consultant. The group originated as a result of the co-founder’s need for support after the death of her son. Tina Werres, a Rhinelander native, lost her son Paul to suicide in 2001. In the months following his death, she struggled with the loss and understood the need for people suffering from the unique backlash of suicide to have a gathering place to meet their needs. Those needs planted the seeds for the formation of the Survivors of Suicide support group.
The Rhinelander based Survivors of Suicide support group meets once a month, the third Saturday at the Curran Building, 315 S. Oneida Avenue, Rhinelander. The meetings are from 10am-12 noon. The SOS support group offers a safe and confidential environment to discuss the unique grieving process experienced by those whose lives have been touched by suicide. It is a place where survivors tell their stories, share their experiences, and help each other move forward in their grief journey. The meetings are informal and confidentiality is the primary guideline. The SOS support group is free and open to the public.
Since its inception, our group has served families and individuals from the Northwood’s area. Our goal is to provide a “safe haven” for those dealing with the death of a loved one due to suicide. In addition to group discussions, we have a small library of books, pamphlets, and other literature dealing with grief and loss, specifically loss due to suicide that is available to attendees.
We invite all of you who are struggling with the death of a loved one who has taken their life to join us.
If you have any questions regarding the meeting schedule or content, please call Sue Mackowski, 715-275-5399 or Tina Werres, 716-499-3002. Remember, “YOU ARE NOT ALONE”.