FOOD SAFETY DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON: Not
all food borne illnesses come from restaurant food. In fact, many
cases of food borne illnesses occur when food is prepared at home.
During the holiday season, if food is handled and prepared safely, most
food borne illnesses can be avoided. All food may contain some natural
bacteria, and improper handling gives the bacteria a chance to grow.
Also, food can be contaminated with bacteria from other sources that
can make you ill. Contaminated or unclean food can be very dangerous,
especially to children and the elderly. Each year food borne illnesses
kill up to 9,000 people. They also cause fever, stomach cramps,
vomiting, and diarrhea in about 1 in 3 Americans. There are 4 major
tips you can use to prevent contaminating food.
Basically use common sense and when in doubt, throw it out.
- Use caution when you buy your food. Buy
perishable food such as meat, eggs, and milk last. Avoid raw or
unpasteurized milk. Because eggs, meat, seafood, and poultry are most
likely to contain bacteria, do not allow their juices to drip on other
food. Shop for groceries when you can take food home right away so that
it does not spoil in the car.
- Store your food promptly. Store
eggs, raw meat, poultry, and seafood in the refrigerator. Use
containers to prevent contaminating other foods or kitchen surfaces.
Your refrigerator should be set at 40 degrees F. Your freezer should
be set at 0 degrees F. Regularly clean and disinfect the refrigerator
- Use special precautions when preparing and cooking food. Wash
your hands and clean and disinfect kitchen surfaces before, during, and
after handling, cooking, and serving food. Wash raw fruits and
vegetables before eating them. Defrost frozen food on a plate either in
the refrigerator or in a microwave, but not on the counter. Cook food
immediately after defrosting. Use different dishes and utensils for raw
foods than you use for cooked foods.
- Cool and promptly store leftovers after food has been served. Because
harmful bacteria grow at room temperature keep hot food hot at 140
degrees F or higher and keep cold food cold at 40 degrees or cooler.
This is especially important during buffets. Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours. Promptly refrigerate or freeze leftovers in shallow containers or wrapped tightly in bags.
It is much cheaper to throw out bad food than it is to pay expensive medical bills or miss work.
BREAKFAST-THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL: Most morning health room visits are
for the chief complaints of head & stomachaches. With further investigation, a majority
of these students have not eaten breakfast. Without fuel such as proteins and
carbohydrates, their bodies are not able to function effectively for learning to take place.
If time is a factor in the morning, encourage your child to eat something even if it’s a
breakfast bar, muffin or a bagel on the run. You will find they will achieve better in
school. REMEMBER HEALTH & LEARNING GO HAND IN HAND!
IS IT A COLD OR THE FLU?
COLD: Fever.....rarely FLU: Fever....high (102-104) lasts for 3-4 days
Headache....rarely Headache...very common
General aches &
aches & pains...usually, often severe
Fatigue, weakness...can last up to 2-3 weeks
Extreme exhaustion...early on & common
Stuffy nose...common Stuffy nose....sometimes
Sore throat...common Sore throat...usually
Cough...moderate hacking cough Cough...can be severe dry cough
Chest discomfort...common, can be severe
Vomiting or diarrhea...never Vomiting or diarrhea....rarely
FIGHT THE FLU:
Doctors recommend everyone 6 months of age & older (especially
those with high risk conditions) get the flu vaccine every year.
the spread of germs. Cough & sneeze into your sleeve. Wash your
hands often with soap & water. Stay home when you are sick. Do not
return until you are fever free for at least 24 hours without the use
of fever reducing medications.
- Get plenty of rest. Drink clear fluids. Medications such as Tylenol or Motrin can help in reducing fever.