Keep your family safe on Thanksgiving
While the holidays can be a time of revelry and joy, there are potential dangers during the holiday season. The Nebraska Regional Poison Center offers the following tips to keep you and your loved ones safe during Thanksgiving and beyond.
The holiday meal and its preparation is the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving celebration. To keep your friends and family safe from food poisoning there are certain steps that everyone should know:
- All kitchen helpers should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
- Keep turkey in its original wrapping, refrigerated until ready to cook. Don’t defrost a turkey at room temperature.
- Avoid rinsing your turkey before cooking. Let the cooking process take care of the bacteria and avoid the risk of cross contamination.
- Cook the turkey at 325˚ F or higher.
- Use a meat thermometer until the internal temperature reaches 165˚ F.
- Store leftover turkey in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 days.
- Don’t prepare food if you are sick.
Concerns for Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Cold weather increases the risk of CO poisoning. CO is a gas produced when fuels burn incompletely. It has no color, taste or smell and is often called “the silent killer.” Some symptoms can mimic other illnesses including the stomach flu and food poisoning. Symptoms can include; headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and even loss of consciousness. Make sure that all furnaces, chimneys, wood stoves and heaters are checked regularly. It is very important to have a CO detector in your home. Here are some tips to avoid CO poisoning:
- Never use barbecue grills or gasoline-powered equipment indoors or in a garage.
- During power outages, gasoline-powered generators should only be used outdoors, away from vents and windows and at least 25 feet from the house.
- Don’t use gas ovens to heat the home.
- Avoid sitting in a car with the engine running if deep snow is blocking the exhaust pipe.
- Never leave your car running in a garage, even if the garage door is open. CO can still build up.
Remember that as Thanksgiving approaches, there may be alcohol in punch and other alcoholic beverages available. If alcohol is left sitting out, this could be very dangerous to a young child. It is important to clean up immediately following all holiday parties. Remove all items that may contain alcohol and keep out of the reach of small children. Call the Poison Center if you suspect a child has swallowed an alcoholic beverage.
A registered nurse or pharmacist is available 24-hours a day, everyday at the Nebraska Regional Poison Center at 1-800-1222.