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Public Health Department
Viewing the 'DPH Latest News' Category
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Monday, March 10th, 2014

The Guilford County Department of Public Health is offering these food safety tips to help you determine if the food in your refrigerator and freezer will be safe to eat after your power comes back on.  Knowing how to determine if food is safe will help minimize the potential loss of food and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
First of all, NEVER taste food to see if it is safe!  It may taste and smell fine but make you very sick.  Don’t take the chance of getting ill.
Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible during the power outage.  Food kept in a closed refrigerator should last about four hours if the door remains closed.  All refrigerators should have a thermometer to regularly check food temperatures.  All refrigerated foods should be kept at 40  ̊F or lower.  Refrigerated foods can be stored in ice-filled coolers for a short period of time.
Refrigerated perishable food such as poultry, fish, meat, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, deli items and leftovers should be discarded after four hours without power.  Remember do not taste them!
A full freezer should hold the temperature and keep food frozen for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if half full).  If the power has been out for several days, the temperature should be checked with an appliance or food thermometer.  Food may be safely eaten or refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40  ̊F or lower.
Always remember, if you doubt if the food is safe, throw it out.  Do not taste it!
For more information, you may contact:
Guilford County Department of Public Health at 641-3771 or www.guilfordhealth.org
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service at (301) 344-4743
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), available in English and Spanish from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday – Friday.  Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.


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Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

The Guilford County Child Fatality Prevention/Community Child Protection Team (CFP/CCPT) is
seeking nominations for its 12th Annual “Safety Makes Cents” award. This is a $1,000 recognition grant for acknowledgment of outstanding work in the field of childhood injury prevention.  Interested organizations or groups whose injury prevention efforts are proven to reduce childhood fatalities are invited to apply. The recipient must use the award money to further the program’s safety efforts. Funds cannot be used for salaries.

An application form is required and is available by contacting Terri Cox at (336) 641-6696 or
tcox@co.guilford.nc.us.  The application must be postmarked by April 1, 2014.  

The winner will be required to attend a brief award presentation on June 19, 2014.  Award winner information will be made available to the local media.

For more information, contact Terri Cox at (336) 641-6696 or tcox@co.guilford.nc.us


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Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

The Guilford County Department of Public Health would is reminding pet owners to keep pets safe and well cared for during snow and ice storms. Just as your home, your automobile and your family need preparations for colder temperatures, preparations must be made for pets as well.  Winter temperatures and precipitation can be dangerous for pets.  Although it is true that some pets (like Huskies and Samoyeds) are better suited for the outdoors than others, it is NOT true that some pets, especially dogs, will be “just fine” if left outdoors. 

 ALL pets need adequate protection from the cold.  Ideally, outdoor pets should be brought indoors.  They should have shelter from freezing temperatures and snow or sleet.  Animals can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite; senior and young pets are most at risk. Outdoor pets should have blankets or straw in their houses or shelters.  Avoid materials that can be easily swallowed. Cedar shavings may irritate pet skin so use caution with this material.  Heat lamps, heaters or other equipment not approved for use with animals could burn your animal or start a fire.   If heated mats are used for dog houses, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  Some dogs will tolerate a coat, which helps protect against the weather. Your pet’s core temperature needs to remain at a normal animal temperature to avoid the risk of freezing to death.

Outdoor pets must have food and fresh water that is not frozen.  Your pets will not get enough water by licking ice or eating snow.  You may want to consider a heated bowl but again, follow the instructions.

Exercise is important for pets, but after a walk in the snow make sure to remove any ice balls that form between its pads. De-icers used on sidewalks and driveways can cause pet paws to become dry, chapped and painful and can upset your pet’s stomach if licked.  Keep your pets off frozen ponds and lakes. They (and you) may fall through the ice.

If you have been using antifreeze, wipe up any spills and keep the container tightly closed and away from pets and children.  Pets may lick antifreeze and drinking just a small amount can be fatal.

Pets, especially cats, will seek a warm place.  Sometimes it is the warm engine of a parked car.   Before you start your car, honk the horn or knock on the hood to scare away a cat that may be hiding. 

Finally, cold weather may irritate your pet’s arthritis.  Handle your pet gently, be careful on icy walks, have a soft, warm bed available and check with your veterinarian for any necessary medications.

If you have concerns about pets this winter or need further information, call Guilford County Animal Control Program at (336) 641-5990.   
             


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Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

The Guilford County Department of Public Health wants residents to know that carbon monoxide poisoning is an important health hazard that can be prevented during winter storms and power outages.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 400 Americans die, more than 20,000 emergency room visits are recorded and more than 4,000 people are hospitalized from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning each year.  Unborn babies, infants, people with chronic heart disease, anemia or respiratory problems are more susceptible to CO effects. The highest fatality rate is among Americans age 65 and older.
Carbon monoxide (or CO) is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can cause sudden illness or death.  CO is found in combustion fumes or the fumes produced when a fuel, such as gasoline, charcoal or wood are burned.  These fumes can be produced by small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, charcoal grills, gas ranges and heating systems.  CO fumes from these sources can build up in enclosed spaces (garages or other small rooms) and poison people or pets who breathe them. The red blood cells in the body pick up CO faster than oxygen so if there is a lot of CO in the air the body will replace the oxygen in the blood with CO.  Since oxygen is blocked from getting into the body, tissue damage and death can occur.  Common symptoms of CO poisoning are:  headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.  High levels of CO can cause loss of consciousness and death.  Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning or you are experiencing any of these common symptoms.
How to prevent CO poisoning:
Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil or coal burning appliances checked and serviced every year by a qualified technician.
Install a battery-operated CO detector in your home.  Check and replace the batteries when you change the time on your clocks in the spring and the fall.  If the detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 911.
Do not use a generator, charcoal grill or other gasoline or charcoal burning device inside your home, basement or garage.
Do not run any vehicle inside a garage that is attached to your house, even with the door open.
Do not burn anything in a stove or fireplace that is not properly vented.
Do not heat your home with a gas oven.
CO poisoning can be prevented with special attention to caring for the appliances, heating systems and vehicles in around your home.  Buy a CO detector for your home and know the symptoms of CO poisoning.  Protect your family and seek medical attention if the CO detector sounds or you believe someone in your home has the symptoms of CO poisoning.
For more information, call the Guilford County Department of Public Health at 641-7777, the Greensboro Fire Department at 373-2177 or Guilford County Emergency Services at 641-7565.  Additional information can be found at the CDC website:  http://www.cdc.gov/co/default.htm


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