Baltimore County Now
William A. Bridges, Environmental Health Specialist
Baltimore County Department of Health
Environmental Health Services
Parties, family dinners, and other gatherings where food is served are all part of the holiday cheer. But the merriment can change to misery if food makes you or others ill. Use the following seven tips to make your holiday a safe one.
1. Are you thawing correctly?
Thawing the turkey or any meat product on the counter might seem easier, but it’s not safe. Thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, in cold running water or in the microwave continuing with the cooking process.
2. Got a thermometer?
No matter how good it looks, you can only tell if a whole turkey is safely cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Always use a food thermometer. Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria.
3. Should you dress it?
Whether it is cooked inside or outside the bird, all stuffing and dressing must be cooked to a minimum temperature of 165ºF. For optimum safety, cooking your stuffing in a casserole dish outside of the bird is recommended. To avoid harmful bacteria growth, never stuff your turkey the night before.
4. Can you leave it out?
As tempting as it is to leave out for all to admire, your pumpkin pie contains milk and eggs, so first bake it to the safe minimum temperature of 160 degrees F., then refrigerate after baking.
5. Wanna taste?
Using the same spoon for stirring and tasting is bad manners and oh yeah, it can spread bacteria and viruses.
6. Did you use soap and water?
Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling pets.
7. More leftovers than usual?
· Refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers within 2 hours of cooking.
· Use leftover foods within 3-4 days or freeze.
· Reheat leftovers thoroughly to 165 degrees F.
Here’s hoping you and yours have a happy, healthy and delicious holiday meal. For more information on holiday food, travel and pet safety, visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/health.
Assistant Chief of Animal Services
Baltimore County Department of Health
Spring is here and so are the Baltimore County Department of Health’s rabies vaccination clinics for dogs, cats and ferrets. The community-based, outdoor clinics are scheduled through June 14.
Rabies is a viral infection of the central nervous system. People usually get rabies from the bite, scratch or lick of an infected animal. The rabies virus is uncontrolled in the wild; however, the easiest way to protect your pet and your family is to keep your pet’s rabies vaccination up to date.
Baltimore County has made it even easier for you to protect your pet by offering nine low-cost rabies vaccination clinics across the County. The vaccine cost is only $8 per animal. When attending a clinic with your pet, please note the following:
· Bring exact change, if possible, as cash and checks will be the only forms of payment accepted.
· Clinics are held rain or shine; however, the Baltimore County Department of Health reserves the right to cancel or limit the time frame of a clinic in the event of severe weather.
· Only dogs, cats, and ferrets will be vaccinated at these clinics.
· Animals must be at least 12-weeks old.
· Uncontrollable animals will not be vaccinated. Dogs and cats must be on a leash or in a properly sized, escape-proof carrier; muzzles are required for aggressive dogs.
· If available, bring your animal’s last rabies vaccination certificate (copy or original) to the clinic.
All vaccinations will be administered by licensed veterinarians who will be assisted by experienced caring technicians. Take advantage of this great, opportunity to protect your pet and family from a deadly, but very preventable disease. We look forward to serving you and your pet!
Rabies clinics are held weekly at the Animal Shelter. Call 410-887-PAWS (7297) to schedule an appointment. The cost for rabies vaccinations is $8.
Also, we have a very special deal for Memorial Day weekend - half-off animal adoptions May 21 to 25! Give a new cat or dog a home for just $25 and $32.50 respectively during this limited time.
Paul Efros, M.A., CCC-A
Audiologist, Baltimore County Department of Health
Free Hearing Screenings Offered by the Department of Health
Many of us take our hearing for granted, but hearing loss is one of the most preventable and treatable health issues in our nation. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, approximately 28 million Americans have hearing loss and this number has doubled in the past 30 years.
Many Americans with hearing loss tend to be older adults. But loss of hearing doesn’t need to be an accepted part of getting older. Help is available! In observance of Better Hearing and Speech Month, the Baltimore County Department of Health’s Audiology Services will offer free hearings checks at three county locations (by appointment only) during the month of May.
How do you know if you or a loved one is losing their hearing? Some signs include:
· Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
· Pain or ringing in the ears
· Difficulty hearing conversations, and
· Keeping the TV or radio volume so loud, others ask you to lower it.
Loss of hearing isn’t just inconvenient; it’s detrimental to a happy, healthy life. Hearing loss is often accompanied by symptoms such as: irritability, fatigue, avoidance or withdrawal from social situations, reduced alertness and increased risk of personal safety, and reduced job performance.
So, do yourself a favor, schedule your free hearing screening today!