Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Fall is here and so is tailgating. Are you ready to grill like a pro?

Fall is one of the most exciting times of the year. School is back in session, leaves change colors and swimsuits and popsicles are traded in for sweaters and pumpkin-flavored everything.

But there’s another thing that gets some Americans jumping for joy in the fall: Football season! And with football season comes another fall favorite, tailgating.

When you’re building up that team spirit and grilling up some tasty football treats, you’ll want to make sure not to sicken your friends and family. Nothing puts a kibosh on fun like a nasty outbreak of food poisoning.

To keep your team healthy, plan ahead when tailgating and grilling in general:

  • Make sure any raw meat, or other perishable food, is stored properly and packaged securely to keep it fresh and prevent contamination. 
  • Bring enough plates and utensils. You can’t use the same ones for both raw and cooked meat.
  • Come prepared with all the supplies you need, including cleaning supplies, water and, most importantly, your trusty food thermometer.
By using your food thermometer when grilling meat, U.S. Department of Agriculture says you’ll be grilling like a “PRO.”

Here’s how, compliments of the Get Ready cheerleading squad:
  • Give me a P! Place the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat, or approach from the side if grilling thinner cuts of meat, once you think it’s fully cooked.
  • Give me an R! Read the internal temperature off the thermometer after about 15 seconds. If you’re cooking steaks, roasts or chops made from beef, pork, lamb or veal, you’ll want to cook them to 145 degrees with a three-minute rest time. Ground meats should be cooked to at least 160 degrees, and whole poultry, poultry breasts and ground poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees.
  • Give me an O! Off the grill and into your mouth. Make sure you don’t reuse the plates and utensils that came into contact with the raw meat. Also, be sure to clean your food thermometer thoroughly after use.
Now you’re tailgating like a P-R-O! Goooooooo, team! 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Catch this public health Pokemon to help prepare for disasters

Chansey ecard
Chanseys are rare...but disasters aren't
If you’re a “Pokemon Go” player, you know that there are more than 100 Pokemon, each whom have their own fantastic abilities.

Here at Get Ready, we’re particularly fond of Chansey, a pink, egg-clutching Pokemon who sometimes sports a hat with a red cross. Chansey’s abilities include “natural cure, serene grace and healer,” which makes her a great fit for public health. She even shares her eggs with people who are injured.

As Chanseys are very rare in the wild, we’ve captured one for you to enjoy on our latest Get Ready e-card. Keep a copy close by, and share one with your friends and family who love “Pokemon Go.”

Even if you have been lucky enough to catch a Chansey, you have to be prepared on your own to face disasters and other potential public health emergencies. Find tips on preparedness on our Get Ready website, including fact sheets and infographics.

And while you’re out there playing “Pokemon Go,” remember to keep safety in mind. This awesome Storify from The Nation’s Health gives you fun and helpful info to keep you in the know while you’re catching them all.

And check out our Get Ready e-cards page for even more fun designs to share.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

CDC shares tips to protect Americans from the Zika virus

What do you need to know about Zika? That depends on who you are, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

APHA’s Get Ready Report podcast recently spoke with Ben Beard, PhD, branch chief for the Bacterial Diseases Branch in the Division of Vector-Borne Disease at the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, to find out how to protect ourselves from the disease.

Since 2015, more than 8,500 people in U.S. states, territories and Washington, D.C., have been diagnosed with Zika, according to CDC. Most of those cases have occurred in Puerto Rico, where a public health emergency was declared last week.

Beard shared information that can benefit all Americans, especially pregnant women, travelers, outdoor workers and people living in areas where Zika might be spreading. Zika can be spread by mosquito bites, through sexual contact or from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or delivery.

Beard recommended that Americans protect themselves from Zika by:
  • using mosquito repellent and wearing clothing to cover their arms and legs,
  • avoiding travel to places where Zika is being actively transmitted, and
  • protecting themselves during sex by using condoms or other barrier methods.

Beard said that public health professionals have an important role to play, especially as parents and kids begin back to school plans.

“There is a really unique opportunity for public health authorities, as school seasons start, to work with schools to make sure that risk of Zika transmission can be minimized,” Beard said. “Public health authorities in school districts can proactively and collaboratively establish direct communication channels and clearly define each partner’s roles and responsibilities.”

Listen to our podcast with Beard now.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Vaccines are awesome! Spread the word during National Immunization Awareness Month

You don’t have to be superhuman to have the power to protect yourself and your community from infectious diseases. You just have to be immunized!

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time to learn about vaccinations for both you and your family.

Getting vaccinated doesn’t only protect yourself, it also helps protect your whole community. Ever heard of herd immunity? If most of your community is immunized against a disease, then that disease won’t have the chance to break out and spread. That means that people who are unable to get certain vaccinations, like very young babies or people with immune system problems, can still be protected.

To achieve community immunity, it’s key that every person who can be vaccinated gets their shots. Make sure the members of your “herd” get the memo with our National Immunization Awareness Month e-card.

Vaccines are important for all ages of people, that’s why each week of National Immunization Awareness Month has a different theme: adults, pregnant women, babies and young children, and preteens and teens.

  • Adults: Vaccinations don’t end once you grow up. Find out what vaccines adults need with this helpful quiz.
  • Pregnant women: Vaccines can transfer immunity to fetuses, so that babies are protected once they’re born. See what’s recommended for pregnant women.
  • Kids and teens: For schoolchildren, getting updated shots should be right next to buying new pencils and paper on the to-do list. Parents can find out what vaccines their kids need via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. 

For even more tips and tools to share, check out the National Public Health Information Coalition site.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Olympics 2016: Crowd preparedness is no game

Image: CDC/Dr. Edwin P. Ewing, Jr.
The 2016 Summer Olympics, now underway in Brazil, is sure to bring new records, joyful victories and lots of shiny metals. It’ll also bring something else: crowds. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend at least some of the games.

Whether you’re lucky enough to be in Rio watching the competition or just tuning in from home, the Olympic games are a good reminder that we all should be prepared for crowds.

Use these tips to go for the gold in crowd preparedness and safety this summer:

  • Know before you go. Whether you’re gathering for a sporting event, parade or fireworks show, be aware of your surroundings, and get familiar with what’s happening in the neighborhood you’re headed to. Print out maps beforehand and know your transportation options in case you have to leave the area quickly.
  • Look out for friends and family. Have an emergency plan and meeting place, and make sure the people you’re traveling with are prepared for emergencies, too. 
  • Be a good sport. Stay aware before, during and after your trip. Pay attention to weather forecasts, local news and emergency alerts so you know you’re ready for any situations that may come up.
  • Ready, get set, spray. Summertime means mosquitoes. Protect yourself and the people close to you.

Follow these tips and stay in the know to protect yourself in crowds this summer. For more tips, check out our crowd safety fact sheet. If you’re prepared, you’ll have more time and energy to root for Team USA!