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On Thanksgiving Day, the Health Department recommends holiday hosts and their helpers follow these food safety tips for a fabulous feast:
Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, said: “To avoid germs, wash hands thoroughly after exchanging greetings or reading a menu, and before you take that first bite. With viruses circulating and flu season here, good hand hygiene is critical.”
To thaw a turkey, the USDA recommends placing it in a refrigerator and allowing one day for every four to five pounds of weight. A 16-pound turkey will take four days to thaw. On Thanksgiving, remove your turkey from the refrigerator, but do not wash it as this spreads germs onto kitchen surfaces.
Now that updated monovalent COVID-19 vaccines are available and recommended for everyone six months and older, and can be given alongside annual flu shots, Amler said it is a good idea for the entire family to get vaccinated before large family gatherings.
Amler said: “Before you visit with older, more vulnerable relatives this holiday season, please schedule your vaccine visits, and if you are under the weather, stay home to help keep others healthy.”
COVID-19 boosters and flu shots are available at many pharmacies and medical practices. Residents can use the Vaccine Finder Tool to schedule a vaccine near them. The County Health Department offers COVID vaccines to children eligible for the Vaccines for Children program and adults who are uninsured or underinsured through the Bridge Access Program at our clinics. Call (914) 995-5800 to learn if we can help.
Before gathering with family members outside your household, Amler recommends taking a home COVID-19 test. Residents can order up to four free at-home COVID-19 test kits by mail. To order, go to COVIDtests.gov.
For a healthier holiday, go for a turkey trot, take a long walk or add some other exercise to your holiday traditions. When preparing the meal, boost flavor with herbs, skip the salt and cut down on the amount of fat and sugar in recipes.
For COVID-19 vaccine information and more food preparation safety tips, go to www.westchestergov.com/health. The USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline can be reached at 1-888-674-6854.