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Sunday, December 04, 2022

reunited? recommendations for thanksgiving

For families who have agreed to hold small gatherings and send blessings from afar during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Thanksgiving holiday is looking like the return of the big party.

More people are gathering this year. The American Automobile Association estimates that travel during this holiday will reach roughly the same level as before the pandemic.

If this is the case in your family, it may be a long time since you’ve encountered frozen turkey or remembered which cousins ​​shouldn’t be sitting together.

To help you round out the basics to keep in mind during Thanksgiving, here are some tips for everyone to stay safe and healthy:

Turkey first

This large bird is the focus of most Thanksgiving feasts, but it’s important to handle raw poultry properly to prevent the spread of bacteria that could cause your guests to return home with unwanted food poisoning. Thaw safely. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a frozen turkey requires about 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of weight. In a pinch, it can also be thawed in cold water or in the microwave, but it should cook quickly if you use those methods. And don’t wash the turkey. Jennifer Quinlan, a nutritional science professor at Drexel University who has studied consumer turkey-handling habits, said washing it in the sink is a bad idea, as it can spread potentially dangerous germs like salmonella to nearby areas. . Instead, pat dry with kitchen paper and place in a baking dish.

Cook Thoroughly, Refrigerate Immediately

The best way to make sure your turkey is fully cooked is to an internal temperature of 165°F (73°C), said Lisa Shelley, a food safety researcher at Carolina State University. Don’t count on the fact that the skin has already turned a golden hue or the color of turkey juice. Once it’s served, be sure to have it in the fridge within two hours, just like all other leftovers—mashed potatoes, sauces, sweet potatoes_. “Seriously, set a timer for when you take everything (out of the fridge),” suggests Quinlan. “You’d be surprised how quickly two hours go by.”

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And don’t skimp on the cleaning. Wash your hands before preparing food and after handling raw poultry. But be sure to also consider kitchen surfaces, cutting boards and any equipment that may be contaminated, Shelley said. Clean with soap and water, then disinfect with bleach. “It’s a two-step process,” he said.

danger zone

There are holidays that are known for certain specific injuries, and Thanksgiving is no exception, said Dr. Christopher Kang, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Carve carefully. Carving a turkey is tougher than it sounds, and the injuries from Thanksgiving are proof. “Invariably, with any splinter, we see a lot of hand and finger injuries,” said Kang, an emergency room physician in Tacoma, Washington. Make sure the cutting knife is sharp and never cuts towards you, but always out. Do not put your hand under the blade to hold a freshly cut piece.

Be careful with fire in turkey fryers. Deep-fried turkey may taste delicious, but preparing it at home is dangerous. Fryers can tip over and fall over, and the combination of improperly thawed or frozen turkey and hot oil can explode. When it doesn’t, Kang said he has seen many traumatic injuries caused by boiling oil.

survive the pandemic

Post-Thanksgiving get-togethers also increase other ER visits when people from different generations come together and exchange germs. This year, the season of COVID-19 and influenza and the threat posed by other respiratory viruses including respiratory syncytial virus are cause for concern, Kang said. Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to certain infections; Older people are more sensitive to others. “What age group is not at risk?” He asked. To reduce the chance of serious infection and illness, make sure everyone who is eligible is up-to-date on their vaccinations. Ask people with any symptoms of illness — including “allergies” or “just a cold” — to stay home. Consider asking your guests to take a rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19 prior to arrival. Make sure your home is well ventilated: open windows, keep a portable air cleaner on. To protect the most vulnerable guests, consider wearing a mask indoors.

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take care of your mental health

Hosting or attending a Thanksgiving holiday event can be challenging after nearly three years of a tumultuous pandemic. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), it is important to have realistic expectations and plan ahead to avoid family difficulties. Take time for yourself. Despite the pressure of the holiday season, don’t give up on your healthy routine. If you usually exercise, make room for longer walks, say the experts at that organization: “Consider the aspects of your life that bring you joy.” Be up front with the boundaries. If you’re worried about conflict or heated arguments around your table on the holiday, the APA suggests making sure everyone knows that Thanksgiving is about “gratitude, appreciation, and the focus on what you have, including each other.” It’s time to focus.

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The Associated Press Department of Health and Science is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. Associated Press is solely responsible for all content.

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