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green romaine lettuce with black background

 I was surprised when I heard last month that E.coli cases were on the rise in Wood County, the county I live and work in. Currently, there are 23 known cases of Shiga toxin- producing Escherichia coli (STEC) E. coli identified by our local health department.  This is a huge increase from cases in the past. For example, in the last five and a half years the county has logged 27 E. coli cases. Of the 23 cases to date, 7 people from my community have been hospitalized, with ages ranging from 21- 60. According to the CDC , a specific food has not yet been confirmed as the source of this outbreak, but many sick people reported eating burgers and sandwiches with romaine lettuce before getting sick. Center for Disease Control also reports that E.coli cases  have been found in  Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and New York.

So, you may ask what is  Escherichia coli  (E. coli)? Well, E. coli can be found in intestines of animals and people, our foods and our environment. Most are harmless and can be a part of a healthy immune system. However, some E. coli can cause a lot of harm to the body. It can cause diarrhea, fever, severe vomiting and even kidney problems. Most people with (STEC) infection start to feel ill 3 to 4 days after eating something that contains the bacteria. However, people can feel ill anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure.

 Ways to prevent the spread of E. Coli

                Good Personal Hygiene

A person washing their hands with soap and water
  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after preparing food, after using the restroom and changing diapers.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after contact with animals such as farms, petting zoos, fairs and even your own animal.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before preparing or feeding bottles or foods to an infant or toddler and before touching their mouths, and pacifiers.

Wash fruits and vegetables

  • Wash fruits and vegetables well under running water, unless the package says it has already been washed.

Cook meats thoroughly

  • Cook ground beef a minimum temperature of 160 degrees F.
  • Always use a food thermometer to check that the meat has reached a safe  minimum internal temperature.

Written by: Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Wood County

Reviewed by: Shannon Smith RD, LD, CDCES, Family and Consumer Sciences Program Coordinator, OSU Extension Wood County

Sources:

woodcountyhealth.org

https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-poisoning

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Bench at lake shore

 

Where did the summer go? It seems like it was just the beginning of June and now the stores are filled with back-to-school supplies and fall clothing. If you have a vacation planned for the next few weeks, consider these suggestions from the Environmental Protection Agency for these easy ways to reduce your environmental impact.

Conserve energy while on vacation. Before you leave home, adjust the air conditioning – you will be surprised at how quickly your house can cool down. Reduce the thermostat on your water heater to conserve additional energy. If you leave a light on for home security, use a timer and use an energy saving light bulb.

• At the beach, use old buckets and other items from your house to build sand castles instead of buying new products at the store.
• Be an energy saver at your hotel room or condo. Turn off the lights and television when leaving the room. Enjoy moderate temperatures by keeping the room cool but not cold.

• If visiting a beach or park, be sure to take everything that you brought with you when you leave. Be a steward of the earth and pick up any stray pieces of trash that you find. Encourage children (& adults!) to throw their trash in the proper place.
Rainy vacation? Long drive in the car? Let your kids use your scrap paper to draw and play games.

Traveling outside the US?Sand Dune

If you are traveling outside of the United States, visit the CDC Travelers’ Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ for information and health recommendations for US residents traveling internationally. You will find information about vaccines, medicine and other advice for travelers.

You can easily select the country or area of your travel location and see suggestions for your health and safety.

Another interesting link on this website includes Travel Notices. The travel notice section is updated with information about disease outbreaks, natural disasters, mass gatherings and other things that may affect a travelers’ health. Go to http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices to see if there are any notices for the area where you will be traveling. These are color coded with these warning levels:

RED               Warning Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel
YELLOW     Alert Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
GREEN         Watch Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions

There are many things to consider while traveling or taking a vacation.

Be prepared, be safe, be resourceful and have a great time!

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

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

Sources: http://www.epa.gov/osw/wycd/summer.htm
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
Photo credits: Bench at lake shore by arinas74 retrieved from http://www.rgbstock.com/images/vacation/1
Sand Dune by RWLinder retrieved from http://www.rgbstock.com/images/vacation/2

 

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