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PSA Thanksgiving 2020

Safety at Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 Pandemic

 The holiday meal and its preparation is the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving celebration and safe food handling in the kitchen is very important! There are many more safety guidelines to keep in mind this year due to our current pandemic. It is wise to follow all state directed health measures this year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six Americans (48 million) will become ill from a food-borne illness this year. The following tips will help guard against food poisoning.

 DO…

  • DO ask all kitchen helpers to wash their hands using warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • DO keep turkey in its original wrapping, refrigerated until ready to cook.
  • DO defrost a frozen turkey by refrigeration or cold running water.
  • DO allow one day for every 4-5 pounds to defrost in the refrigerator. In a cold water bath, change the water every 30 minutes.
  • DO use a meat thermometer to check if turkey is done. The turkey should cook until the internal temperature reaches a safe minimum of 165˚ F.
  • DO store the turkey and stuffing separately.
  • DO store leftover turkey in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 days.
  • DO store leftover stuffing and gravy in the refrigerator and use within 1-2 days.

DON’T…

  • DON’T defrost a turkey at room temperature. Bacteria can multiply to unsafe numbers on outer layers before inner layers have defrosted.
  • DON’T leave an uncooked thawed turkey out of the refrigerator longer than two hours.
  • DON’T rinse your turkey before cooking. Let the cooking process take care of the bacteria and avoid the risk of cross contamination.
  • DON’T set your oven lower than 325˚ F.
  • DON’T prepare food if you are sick or have a nose or eye infection.
  • DON’T leave leftovers out on the counter longer than two hours.
  • DON’T re-freeze a completely thawed uncooked turkey.
  • DON’T stuff turkeys as it makes it difficult for the internal temperature to reach 165°F within a safe period of time. If you must stuff your turkey, stuff it lightly before cooking and leave room for the oven to cook the interior of the turkey and stuffing.

 

The Nebraska Regional Poison Center is a free community service to the public.

Call 1-800-222-1222 to speak directly with a Registered Nurse or Pharmacist 24/7/365.

7/2/20 Update-FDA warns consumers of risk of methanol in certain hand sanitizers

FDA is warning consumers and health care providers that the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested.

The agency is aware of adults and children ingesting hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol that has led to recent adverse events including blindness, hospitalizations and death.

Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing. The agency will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate treatment for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning. Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who accidently ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk.

FDA reminds consumers to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose. If soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol (also referred to as ethyl alcohol).

FDA remains vigilant and will continue to take action when quality issues arise with hand sanitizers. The agency is especially concerned with:

  • The dangers of drinking any hand sanitizer under any conditions. While hand sanitizers with possible methanol contamination are more life-threatening than those that are not contaminated, FDA urges consumers not to drink any of these products.
  • Certain hand sanitizers that may not contain a sufficient amount of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol.
  • Hand sanitizers that are sold or offered for sale with false and misleading, unproven claims that they can prevent the spread of viruses such as COVID-19, including claims that they can provide prolonged protection (e.g., for up to 24-hours).
  • Products that are fraudulently marketed as “FDA-approved” since there are no hand sanitizers approved by FDA.
  • Products packaged to appear as drinks, candy or liquor bottles, as well as products marketed as drinks or cocktails because their appearance could result in accidental ingestion or encourage ingestion. Children are particularly at risk with these products since ingesting only a small amount of hand sanitizer may be lethal in a young child.

FDA is aware of reports of adverse events associated with hand sanitizer products. FDA encourages health care professionals, consumers and patients to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of hand sanitizers to FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (please provide the agency with as much information as possible to identify the product):

  • Complete and submit the report online; or
  • Download and complete the form, then submit it via fax at 1-800-FDA-0178.

FDA’s testing and manufacturer/distributor recalls

The following chart outlines the information on hand sanitizer labels for consumers to use to identify a product:

  • That has been tested by FDA and found to contain methanol.
  • That is being recalled by the manufacturer or distributor.
  • That is purportedly made at the same facility as products that have been tested by FDA and found to contain methanol.

FDA advises consumers not to use hand sanitizers from these companies, or products with these names or NDC numbers.

See this webpage for a full list of hand sanitizers we urge consumers not to use:
https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitzers-methanol

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58th Annual Poison Prevention Week

The Nebraska Regional Poison Center will unite with the nation’s other 54 poison centers to celebrate the 58th Annual National Poison Prevention Week on March 15-21, 2020, a week dedicated to raising awareness about poisoning in the U.S. and highlighting ways to prevent it. Each year, more than 2 million poisonings are reported to the Nation’s poison centers, which can be reached by calling 1-800-222-1222. The Poison Center is staffed by specially trained health care professionals including Registered Nurses, Pharmacists and Physicians.

Poisons are all around us and can affect anyone, anywhere, at any time of life. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 93 percent of poisonings happen at home, and 45 percent of poisonings involve children under the age of 6. The majority of fatal poisonings occur among adults, especially older adults.  Many poisonings are preventable and expert help is just a phone call away.

Here are some poison prevention tips to protect yourself and your family:

  • Program the toll-free number for the Poison Center (1-800-222-1222) into your cell phone or text “poison” to 797979 to save the contact information. Post the toll-free number visibly in your residence as well.
  • Always put medicines and vitamins away after every use. It may be tempting to keep the medicine handy because you have to give another dose in a few hours, but children are very quick and may attempt to swallow it, so it is best to store out of reach and sight.
  • Never refer to medicine as “candy” or another appealing name.
  • Always use the dosing device that comes with the medicine container.
  • If you have old, unused or expired medication call the Poison Center for assistance in locating a pharmacy that can take medication back.
  • Install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. Make sure there is one on every level of your home, especially around sleeping areas.  If the CO alarm sounds, leave your home immediately and move to a safe location outside where you can get fresh air.
  • Keep liquid nicotine products and cigarettes out of the reach of children. A small amount can be very poisonous to a child.
  • Be aware of where the disc batteries are in your home. They may be found in remote controls, key fobs, hearing aids, musical cards or books.  Curious toddlers will swallow these readily and are very dangerous if ingested.
  • Never mix household products together. For example, mixing bleach with an acid or an ammonia cleaner may result in a toxic gas.
  • Check your home (including garage) for cleaning supplies, laundry detergent packets, plants, personal care products, alcohol, pesticides, gasoline and medicine. Keep them out of sight or locked up.

 

The Nebraska Regional Poison Center is a free community service to the public.

When you call 1-800-222-1222, you will speak immediately to a Registered Nurse or Pharmacist 24/7/365.