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buffetAs we enter the holiday season, we are often participating in pot-luck celebrations at work and dinners with family and friends. What are some steps we can take to help avoid food borne illnesses at these happy occasions?

If you are the one preparing the food, remember the four basic food safety rules: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill. By following these four simple rules, you can help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria which could make your family ill and make your holidays less than jolly!

  • Clean. Begin by washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling food. Be sure that countertops, cutting boards and utensils are clean by washing with hot soapy water. Rinse fruits and vegetables that are not being cooked under cool running water.
  • Separate. Help prevent cross contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry and seafood away from ready to eat foods in your shopping cart and your refrigerator. Use one cutting board for these raw foods and another for salads and ready to eat food.
  • Cook. Use a food thermometer to tell if a food is cooked to a safe temperature – just going by color is not sufficient. Always bring sauces, soups, etc to a rolling boil when reheating. If using a microwave oven, cover, stir and rotate the food to ensure even cooking.
  • Chill.  Remember the “danger zone” where bacteria can grow rapidly, 40° – 140°F. Keep the refrigerator below 40°F., use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature. Thaw meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator, not on the counter. After the meal, chill leftover foods within 2 hours and put food into shallow containers to allow for quick cooling.

If you are participating in a pot-luck lunch at work or school, there are some things to keep in mind for food safety. The most important rule to follow is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold! Avoid the “danger zone”! It is often a good idea to appoint one person to make sure that foods are being kept at a safe temperature.

  • Foods that are to be served hot should be kept above 140°F.
  • Cold foods should be kept below 40°F.
  • Make sure that the surfaces where food will be served are clean.
  • Do not allow food to sit out for over 2 hours.
  • Any food that has not been kept at a safe temperature should be discarded after 2 hours.

So enjoy the holidays and the events that accompany them while keeping yourself, your family, friends and co-workers safe from food borne illness.

Sources:

Safe Food Handling Factsheets http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling

Be Food Safe   www.befoodsafe.org 

EXTENSION CONNECTION: Keeping Food Safe (pot luck party tips) http://www.crestviewbulletin.com/news/community/extension-connection-keeping-food-safe-potluck-party-tips-1.56092?page=2 

Author: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County

Reviewer: Linette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

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Need more energy? Have this energy drink. If you are playing a sport, you need a sports drink. Really, do we need sport or energy drinks, vitamin waters, or fruit flavored drinks? The advertisers claim we need them. What is truth and what is hype? sports beverages

• Sports drinks are not necessary unless you are engaging in continuous, vigorous activity for more than 60 minutes in hot weather. Most sports drinks have lots of sugar and calories. Most of us don’t need the extra nutrients, electrolytes and/or protein as your diet usually provides what is needed. Water is the best drink for rehydrating, which is what your body needs. Sports drinks increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, dental caries and cardiovascular disease. Low-fat or fat-free milk can be a better option to drink when engaging in sports or physical activity to regain what you have lost.

• Energy drinks are not needed and may over-stimulate the cardiovascular and nervous system causing some detrimental effects. Most energy drinks have high amounts of caffeine and other stimulates. Energy drinks can be dangerous for people with unknown heart issues. Energy drinks are not safe for youth. In fact, studies have shown youth who drink energy drinks are less able to concentrate and may have a slower reaction speed. Extra vitamins in energy drinks do not really help your body. Energy drinks have been associated with many health concerns such as increased blood pressure, sleep problems, seizure activity, heart arrhythmia and others. Avoid powdered caffeine which is very dangerous.

• Vitamin waters have added vitamins which are better obtained by eating vegetables and fruits. These drinks also contain added sugar and sodium. Don’t pay the high price tag for these which also increase the risk of obesity. Eat a healthy diet and drink water.

• Fruit flavored drinks tend to be high in added sugar and other ingredients. Some of the herbal fruit flavored drink ingredients have not been researched on children. These drinks also increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, dental caries and cardiovascular disease.glass of iced tea

• Sweetened teas and coffee drinks have added sugar and carry the same health risks as sports drinks. They also can cause sleep disturbances and nervous problems in youth and adults.

Beverage manufactures are trying to convince us that they are providing us with “ready-to-go” attractive beverages. Most of the health claims on the bottles cannot be proven true and the added sugars increase the risk of diabetes and obesity.

Drink water!
It is the best drink. Other recommended choices include nonfat or low-fat milk and 100% fruit or vegetable juice in small amounts. Eat a healthy diet, and you will have the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy.

Writer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension
Reviewer: Susan Zies, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

References:
Center for Weight and Health, (2014). Hiding Under a Health Halo, University of California at Berkeley, Available at: http://www.publichealthadvocacy.org/healthhalo.html
Nelson, J. and Zeratsky, K. (2010). Milk Joins the Roster of Sports Drinks, Mayo Clinic, Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-blog/sports-drinks/bgp-20056125
Nutrition Action, (2014). Caffeine in Food – Caffeine Content of Drinks Revealed! Available at http://nutritionaction.com/daily/caffeine-in-food

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Fall Challenge 2014

Join Ohio State University Extension for a six-week personal wellness challenge. This fall the Live Healthy Live Well challenge for better health will run from September 8-October 19. This is an online challenge designed to help adults get fit by encouraging regular physical activity, healthy eating and wellness tips. This is a free event. Participants will receive e-communications twice weekly sent directly to you from your local OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Professional. This challenge focuses on:

• Organic/natural foods
• Calcium and fiber in your diet
• Superfoods
• Gluten-free and whole grains
• Incorporating fitness into your day
Sign up by following this link to enroll: http://go.osu.edu/Mahoningfall14
Once you register, you will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting the week of September 8, 2014.
We look forward to taking this fall challenge journey together!

Written by: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD,LD, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, MA, LD, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

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Why do you listen to music? Take a moment to think about where you are at, what you are doing or how you are feeling when you choose to play music.
People listen to music:
• for a boost and to relieve stress
• to keep them awake during a long car journey
• to help them relax or fall asleep
• to soothe their baby
• to dance with their children or family
• to break up the work day
• to run faster
• to deal with a break up
• to influence their creativity

While we know music helps us daily to accomplish tasks, change our moods, deal with problems, relax, exercise and even celebrate – it can also be a therapy.

Music and rhythmic sounds have been used as healing powers for centuries throughout the world. It is only recently that modern physicians have rediscovered how music can help emotional and physical health and wellness through music therapy. Through music’s rhythm, order and predictability, it can help people express themselves and improve speech, walk, and move better, and improve memory. Music therapy can also help relieve pain, anxiety and long term illnesses (cancer, stroke, heart disease, respiratory conditions) or help with a progressive disease such as Parkinson’s.

Research has also shown that:

  • Music helps the brain produce a calming substance and slow down your body when it’s overactive.
  • Listening to music can have a real effect on various parts of the brain such as memory and vision.
  • Music really can change our mood and even help us concentrate.
  • While listening to music, patients’ blood pressures and heart rates became more stable.
  • Listening to pleasurable music is good for your heart because it can produce ‘musical chills’ which trigger the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine.

Even though the science of music therapy is still in the early stages it has shown to have a significant positive impact on our health and well being.

Ah, the healing power of music – that’s music to my health – and your health too!

Graceland gate

Writer: Candace J. Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, Heart of Ohio EERA, heer.7@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/balance/rm-quiz-health-benefits-music

http://www.webmd.com/balance/music-therapy

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/expert-blog/cancer-and-music/bgp-20056417

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/wellbeing/health-benefits-of-music.htm

Photo credits:

Stocking around – http:///www.freeimages.com/photo/522119

graceland memphis tennessee gates musical notes -

http://pixabay.com/en/graceland-memphis-tennessee-gates-395039

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water 2What do you, a tree and a hamster have in common?

You all need water! All living things need water to survive whether they get it from a water fountain, a rain cloud or a little bottle attached to the side of a hamster cage!

How many of you think of a nice, cold glass of water when you need to quench your thirst? Whether we are indoors or out – we need to remember to keep our bodies hydrated and water should be the first thing we reach for. Your body is about 60% water and constantly needs to be replenished. Every cell in your body needs water to function properly.

  • Why water? Well, water does a great job in helping to keep our bodies hydrated without adding any sugar, caffeine or other substances
  • How much? You’ve probably heard for years that we all need 8 glasses of water every day – for a total of 64 ounces. Researchers have pointed out that the need for fluid can vary widely among individuals.
  • Does it have to be “plain” water? No, there are many ways to dress up the taste of a glass of water. A fairly common way to flavor the water is to add fruit or vegetable slices – lemons, strawberries, cucumber, etc. You can also add herbs to the water for refreshing drinks. Try a sprig of mint for a refreshing change of taste!
  • Can it help me lose weight? That is a possibility! If you drink a full glass of water before your meal, you may trick your brain into thinking that you are full sooner!       Also, if you substitute water for high calories drinks, you are helping control the number of calories your body is taking in each day.
  • Don’t always rely on your body to tell you that you need some water. When you are hot and sweaty, your thirst mechanism can shut off and you don’t know that you need some fluids. . If our bodies become dehydrated it can lead to physical and mental problems.
  • While water is the best source of fluids for your body, don’t forget that you can count all of the fluids you drink during the day. Many of the fruits and vegetables we eat have high water contents – try watermelon, strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, and celery.
  • Try to keep track of how much water you drink during a typical day. Aiming for the 8 glasses is not a bad thing – just remember that the amount your body needs will vary with your activity level, your body size and the temperature if you are outside and other factors.

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@sou.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, Treber.1@osu.edu

 

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/feel-your-best-with-water

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water

How Much Water Do You Really Need? Health and Nutrition Newsletter: Tufts University. July 2014. Volume 32, No.5

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SunburnOuch!  You didn’t think you were out in the sun that long.  What happened?  Now, your skin is red and really hurts.  What do you do?

•First get out of the sun and indoors, if possible.

•Put a towel dampened in cold water on your skin. Change the towel every 10 to 15 minutes. This will help remove some of the heat out of your skin. You can also take a cool shower or bath. Just gently pat your skin dry, leaving some water on your skin.

•To help relieve dryness of the skin you can apply a moisturizer with aloe vera or soy. This will help trap the water in your skin. Aloe vera has a soothing action on the skin. However, be careful with lotions and creams as those containing petroleum, benzocaine or lidocaine should not be used. Petroleum products can trap heat in your skin and make you more uncomfortable. Benzocaine and lidocaine can irritate your skin. Hydrocortisone cream may help if you have an area that feels especially uncomfortable.

•You can take an over the counter pain reliever to help reduce discomfort, swelling, and redness. Don’t use home remedies as these can slow or prevent healing.

•Drink extra water. Being sunburned dries you out so you need to drink extra water to prevent dehydration.

•Don’t pop blisters. Popping blisters can make your sunburn worse. If you have blisters you have a second-degree sunburn. Blisters protect you from infection if you allow them to heal naturally and don’t pop them. If they do pop on their own, apply an antibacterial ointment in the area.

•If you feel dizzy, weak, sick to your stomach, cold, itchy, feverish, or if you develop a rash or are just not feeling well, you should seek medical help. These symptoms signal the sunburn may be making you really sick, or you may be very dehydrated and need medical attention. Heat exhaustion is also a possibility requiring medical attention.Sun hat and applying sun screen

•Be careful until your sunburn heals. Skin healing from a sunburn can easily burn again in the sun. Wear sunscreen and additionally protect your skin with tightly-woven clothing in dark or medium colors.

Sunburns cause damage to your skin which can last for some time. Sunburns increase your risk of skin cancer in the future. Protect your skin with a 30 SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen when going outside and reapply every two hours. Learn and follow other sun safety tips.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County, Miami Valley EERA, brinkman.93@osu.edu

Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, West Region, spires.53@osu.edu

References:
American Academy of Dermatology, (2014). Treating Sunburn, Available at http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/for-kids/about-skin/skin-cancer/treating-sunburn

Mayo Clinic, (2012). Sunburn: First Aid, Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-sunburn/basics/art-20056643

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Girls Spraying Each Other While Washing Dog

We have officially started summer with the Memorial Day Weekend! The weather was beautiful in our part of Ohio and after weeks of cloudy, rainy cold weather, we were all ready to be outside and enjoy the warm sun. This is a good time to remind ourselves how to be safe while having fun in the sun!

We often think about the dangers from too much sun. Much is written about using sunscreen, limiting time out during the hottest part of the day, etc. We sometimes forget to also protect ourselves and our children from excessive heat.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has great advice for us:

  • Drink more fluids. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Keep a bottle of water close by at all times.
  • Don’t drink liquids with lots of sugar or alcohol – they can actually cause you to loose body fluid.
  • Some medications can cause dehydration, check with your doctor or pharmacist and follow advice about sun and heat exposure.
  • Infants, young children and the elderly are more sensitive to excessive heat and sun exposure. Be sure and limit their time spent outside on hot, sunny days.
  • If the heat is excessive, try to stay in an air-conditioned place. Electric fans can help but once the temperature reaches 90°, fans do not prevent heat-related illness.
  • Wear light weight, light colored clothing.
  • You might want to carry a water bottle mister or keep a wet washcloth in your cooler for instant relief from the heat!
  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning or evening hours if possible. Between 10 am and 4 pm the sun is its strongest.
  • Try to rest in shady areas.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

The American Cancer Society provides a sun-safety quiz (http://www.cancer.org/healthy/toolsandcalculators/quizzes/app/sun-safety-quiz)

Take a few minutes to take their quiz and see how sun smart you are!

So, enjoy being outside in the sun and heat, but be smart…protect yourself and those in your care so that everyone has a happy, healthy summer!

 

Writer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

 

Sources:

http://www.cancer.org/healthy/besafeinthesun/index

http://www.extension.org/pages/32345/playing-it-safe-in-the-summer-heat-sun

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.asp

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