Speaking of public health

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

As you begin to celebrate the holidays this year, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

Decoration safety

• Never use lighted candles near tree, boughs, curtains or drapes, or with any potentially flammable item.

• Keep holiday plants away from small children who might try to eat them. Some of these plants can be poisonous or cause severe stomach problems. Watch out for plants such as mistletoe, holly berries and Jerusalem cherry.

• Avoid placing breakable tree ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower branches where small children or pets can reach them.

• Only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors. Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, and loose connections. Replace or repair any damaged light sets.

• Use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Extension cords should be placed against the wall to avoid tripping hazards, but do not run cords under rugs, around furniture legs or across doorways.

• Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Unplug extension cords when not in use.

Holiday Food Safety

• When preparing a holiday meal for friends and family, be sure to wash hands, utensils, sink, and anything else that has come into contact with raw poultry. Keep in mind that stuffed turkeys take longer to cook than unstuffed turkeys.

• Never defrost at room temperature. Thaw your turkey in the refrigerator to prevent bacteria growth.

• Use a clean food thermometer to be sure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature.

• When reheating leftovers, bring the temperature up to at least 165 degrees to eliminate any bacterial growth.

• Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in covered shallow containers within two hours after cooking.

Britney Wilson is a registered nurse with the Hocking County Health Department.