Baltimore County News
Lucia Donatelli, MD
Chief, Bureau of Prevention, Protection, and Preparedness
Baltimore County Department of Health
Flip flops, barbecues and trips to the beach are all hallmarks of summer. Visits to the pool, baseball games and camping trips are also on that list. Summer is here and it brings with it all the joys of long sunny days and enjoying time outdoors. While all these things are enjoyed by many, it’s important to stay safe this season. Remembering one word makes summer safety simple. Enjoy yourself, because summer will be gone in a F.L.A.S.H.
Be sure to wash your hands and all food surfaces. Don't let bacteria spread from one food product to another. This is especially true for raw meat, poultry and seafood. Cook to the recommended temperature and use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of foods. Refrigerate food promptly to keep harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying on food.
Avoid tick-heavy areas. When outdoors or in the woods, wear insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET. Once coming indoors, immediately remove your clothing and check for ticks. If you find a tick, don't panic. Remove it with fine-tipped tweezers, grasping the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible and pull up with steady, even pressure until the tick backs out. Afterwards, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
Provide your pet with ample shade and water. Never leave pets in cars.
Wear sunscreen, protective clothing, a hat and glasses to protect your skin and eyes. See a dermatologist if you see a change in any moles or freckles. This applies to all skin colors, because skin cancer can happen to anyone.
Stay indoors and use air conditioning when the temperatures and humidity are extremely high. Drink plenty of water. Check on elderly friends and neighbors.
Following these tips will help ensure that you, your family and pets have a safe and healthy summer.
Summer Food Safety, 9-1-1 Know-How and CZMP
The July edition of Baltimore County’s half-hour cable television public affairs show, “Hello Baltimore County,” highlights the following topics:
Food Safety Tips to Keep from Spoiling Your Summer Fun – When temperatures soar, food-borne illness has a field day! Find out how to keep your picnic food and your family safe.
Make the Right Call – Baltimore County’s 9-1-1 Center Assistant Chief shares how to help emergency responders help you when you call 9-1-1.
Comprehensive Zoning Map Process – Every four years, you have the chance to request a zoning change on property in Baltimore County. Find out how, and why it matters to your community.
In addition to online access, the program runs several times per week on Cable Channel 25, in Baltimore County, at the following times:
- Mondays: 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m.
- Tuesdays: 12 p.m., 9 p.m.
- Wednesdays: 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 10 p.m.
- Thursdays: 1 p.m., 8 p.m.
- Fridays: 11 a.m., 6 p.m.
- Saturdays: 10 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.
- Sundays: 10 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.
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.