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Things to keep in mind this Thanksgiving to stay healthy

Every year one in six Americans, which is nearly 48 million people, get sick with foodborne illnesses according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Don't Wash Turkey
Posted at 4:20 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 23:24:22-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Every year one in six Americans, which is nearly 48 million people, get sick with foodborne illnesses according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s why Kern County Public Health says it's important to practice healthy safety tips.

23ABC asked community members if they knew about some of the ways they could protect themselves:

How Do You Thaw Your Turkey?

  • “Slowly over several days in a refrigerator.”
  • “I keep it out overnight and let it defrost overnight in the sink.”
  • “In the refrigerator for days.”
  • “It depends if I'm gonna cook it in like 4 days, I place it in the refrigerator. If it's frozen, if I’m going to cook it in less than 4 days, I'll place it in water so that it thaws out pretty good.”

How Long Do You Leave Your Leftovers Out Before Putting Them in the Refrigerator?

  • “Approximately 20 to 25 minutes.”
  • “We leave it out until people just get full and then go back and forth. So maybe 4, 4 to 6 hours, I guess.”
  • "We put it right away. When we’re done eating when Thanksgiving’s over, we put it right in the fridge.”
  • “Maybe 2 hours. Give everyone time to have food, seconds if necessary, then I put it back.”

When it comes to defrosting your turkey, Kern County Public Health says the safest way to thaw your meat is in the refrigerator for more than 24 hours and in cold water.

But after everyone is done eating, Michelle Corson says it's not safe to leave the food out.

“This is very dangerous. This is when bacteria really can accumulate on food, so you really need to get any of those foods into refrigeration after just two hours of sitting out. This is really important for families to think about.”

One of the reasons it’s critical to wash your hands and practice healthy cooking habits is to avoid getting sick.

“Foodborne illness is something that we really all are susceptible to if we’re not practicing some basic safety tips," added Corson. "When we’re preparing these meals, especially during the holidays for our friends and family."

But foodborne illness isn’t the only thing to keep in mind this season. COVID-19, the flu, and RSV are continuing to rise this holiday season.

“The great news is, the tips that apply to one, apply to the other," said Corson. "All of the respiratory diseases, it's gonna help if you take some basic safety measures and it starts with, there is a vaccine available for the flu and COVID-19.”

Corson also says it's important not to cross-contaminate your food and if you can, celebrate outside for better ventilation.