Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Get ready for cuteness overload! Our new Get Ready Calendar is here

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Time for your new Get Ready Calendar! The latest edition of our annual preparedness calendar is available and it’s loaded with cuteness.

From wagging puppy tails and sleeping kittens to fuzzy goats and furry squirrels, “Awwwwwpocalypse! APHA’s 2017 Get Ready Calendar” is full of squee. This year’s calendar may be our most adorable yet, as the theme is baby animals. That’s right: 12 months of fluffy, big-eyed, sweet-faced baby animals. Awwww.

Photographers submitted hundreds of photos of baby animals in our annual contest. And though we wanted to share them all, we had to narrow it down to just 20 cutetastic pics for the calendar.

But it’s not all fluff: Every image is accompanied by preparedness tips. So you and your family, friends and colleagues can learn how to get ready for disasters each month. Print a copy for your refrigerator, your bulletin board and your cubicle. They even make great stocking stuffers or Hanukkah gifts!

Once you’ve printed your copies, be sure to share the link on social media and on your website, so that others can enjoy yearlong adorableness and get prepared.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Potluck food safety: Don’t bring uninvited germs to your party

Potlucks are great places to hang out with friends and family and eat some great food. But if you don’t follow food safety, they can also be places for trouble. 

Cooking for potlucks or large groups means you need to take extra steps to keep food safe. The large numbers of people, crowded space and buffet-style food set-up can spell a recipe for disaster.

You can get sick when germs are present on the food you eat. This is called food poisoning and can make you feel really sick. Germs can get on food at any point during food handling, cooking or storage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 48 million Americans get food poisoning every year. The risk is highest for young children, seniors and pregnant women.

But there are many ways to keep your next potluck event more yum than yuck.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says food safety begins at the sink. Make sure to wash your hands before making food and always wash fruits and vegetables before use. Use clean counter space, utensils and storage containers for your food. Never re-use cutting boards or knives that have been used with raw meat before washing.

Some dishes make better party guests than others. The Food and Drug Administration says egg-containing dishes like mayonnaise, homemade Caesar salad dressing, chocolate mousse and deviled eggs need extra care. Make sure to keep these dishes in the fridge right until party time. It’s best if you can put out small portions of these foods. That way, you can replace the plate with fresh food from the fridge or cooler throughout the party.

When transporting and serving — avoid the danger zone! Bacteria can quickly multiply in temperatures between 40 degrees and 140 degrees. So keep food above or below these temperatures. To keep foods hot, use warming plates or slow cookers and to keep it cold, use ice. Have small spoons ready for dips or sauces to keep people from dipping food directly in these shared bowls.

Stick to the two-hour rule: Food should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours, according to USDA. After two hours, food should be thrown away. If the event is outside and the temperature is over 90 degrees, throw out after one hour. If in doubt, throw it out.

To keep your next event safe, spread the word and dish out this advice to others bringing food to the party!

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Spending time with friends and family this season? Get your flu vaccination now

The holidays are almost upon us! That means good times, good cheer and lots of time with friends and family.

While you’re hugging grandma or holding your cousin’s new baby, you don’t want to give them the flu, right? (And you certainly don’t want to catch it from your always-snot-covered nephew.)

The best way to protect yourself and others is to get your flu shot and get it now. It takes about two weeks after your shot for all that awesome flu vaccine protectiveness to kick in, so this is great timing.

In fact, it’s National Influenza Vaccination Week, meaning there’s probably a flu clinic nearby you right now. Or drop by your local pharmacy or walk-in clinic.

This way, you’ll only be spreading joy to the people you care about this season — and not whatever is on your plane tray or door handle. (Speaking of which, don’t forget to wash your hands. A lot.)

Help spread the word about holiday flu preparedness with our super-cute new Get Ready graphic and check out our other holiday images.