With summertime upon us the Southeast Utah Health Department wants to encourage everyone to have fun, but to keep a few things in mind that will help keep you safe from some of the summertime diseases that can slow us down:

 

  • Vector-borne diseases (mosquitos, ticks, etc...)

 

It's always a good idea to wear mosquito repellant, particularly in the evening hours from 7 pm to midnight when the disease causing mosquitos are biting.  Get rid of puddles around your house, mosquito larvae only need 1/4 inch of water to hatch.  West Nile Virus cases have been down for several years, but there is some reason to believe it may spike again this year.

 

Though we don't see many cases of Lyme disease in our area, it's always a good idea when hiking to wear long sleeved shirts and pants and to check your clothes and skin if you've been hiking in an area with ticks (tip: it's easier to spot ticks on light colored clothing!!).

 

Keep window screens in good repair to prevent flies and other pests from making their way into your home.

 

  • Water borne diseases:

 

In the swimming pool, we worry about Cryptosporidium.  If you have diarrhea or had it within 2 weeks, please don't swim.  When you do swim, take a cleansing shower and try to avoid swallowing water.  Children that wear a diaper should have a swim diaper and a plastic diaper cover to help protect everyone in the pool.

 

In our lakes and rivers we worry about E.Coli, Giardia and Shigella.  If you're going out to recreate on the water, take a source of potable water with you.  If you are forced to use a disinfectant or filter, make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.

 

  • Food borne diseases:

 

We can be more sure of remaining healthy if we follow some basic rules for food handling:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly

  • Cook food completely

  • Keep potentially hazardous foods above 135 degrees or below 41 degrees

  • Throw away food that has been sitting at room temperature for more than 2 hours

  • Wash your fruits and vegetables (even melons!)

 

If you have questions about this information, please contact the Health Department.

 

Price: 435-637-3671; Castle Dale: 435-381-2251; Moab; 435-259-5602

Summer time tips to keep you safe
Older Adults & Food Safety

Foodborne illness, often called food poisoning, is unpleasant and potentially serious for anyone but it's especially dangerous for people over 65.  Although people of every age can get food poisoning, older adults are more at risk, more likely to have a lengthy illness, undergo hospitalization, or even die.  The federal government estimates that there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illness annually-the equivalent of sickening 1 in 6 Americans.  And each year, these illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.  

 

Age-Related Changes

As people age, normal changes in the body often increase the likelihood of catching a foodborne illness.  The immune system is naturally weakened by age and various organs become sluggish in recognizing and ridding the body of harmful pathogens that cause infections, includng those carried by food:

  • The stomach and intestinal tract may hold foods for a longer period of time

  • The liver and kidneys may not get rid of toxins as readily; and,

  • By age 65, many people have been diagnosed with one or more chronic conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer, or heart disease; and are taking at least one medication.  The side effects of some medications or chronic disease may weaken the immune system further, increasing susceptibility to foodborne illness.

 

To avoid food poisoning, older adults must be especially careful when choosing, handling, preparing, and consuming foods.

 

High Risk Foods to Avoid
  • Raw or undercooked meat or poultry

  • Raw fish, partially cooked seafood (such as shrimp and crab), and refrigerated smoked seafood

  • Raw shellfish (including oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops) and their juices

  • Unpasteurized (raw) milk and products, such as yogurt and cheese made with raw milk

  • Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized millk, such as Feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican style cheeses (such as Queso Fresco, Panela, Asadero, and Queso Blanco)

  • Raw or undercooked eggs or foods containing them, including certain homemade salad dressings (such as Caesar salad dressing), homemade cookie dough and cake batters, and homemade eggnog.  (NOTE:  Most pre-made foods from grocery stores, such as Caesar dressing, pre-made cookie dough, or packaged eggnog, are made with paseurized eggs.)

  • Unwashed fresh vegetables, including lettuce/salads

  • Unpasteurized fruit or vegetable juices (These juices should have an "unpasteurized" label.)

  • Hot dogs, luncheon meats (cold cuts), fermented and dry sausage, and other deli-style meats, poultry products, and smoked fish--unless they are reheated until steaming hot

  • Salads (without added preservatives) prepared on site in a deli-type establishment, such as ham salad, chicken salad, or seafood salad

  • Unpasteurized, refrigerated pates or meat spreads

  • Raw sprouts (alfalfa, bean, or any other sprout)

 

Even low-risk foods require safe handling, cooking, and storage.  Safe food handling should be a lifelong commitment for everyone, but especially for persons at greater risk, like older adults.

 

Address:
28 South 100 East
Price, UT 84501

bgarff@utah.gov
Tel: 435-637-3671
Fax: 435-637-1933

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