Health Notes: Power outage? Follow these food safety tipsGiven that this week’s storms were accompanied by power outages in some places, the Minnesota Department of Health is offering a timely reminder about food safety.
By: Compiled by John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Given that this week’s storms were accompanied by power outages in some places, the Minnesota Department of Health is offering a timely reminder about food safety.
“Do not trust your eyes or sense of smell to determine if food has gone bad,” said Aggie Leitheiser, assistant commissioner of health, in a news release. “Food may be unsafe to eat, even if it doesn’t look or smell bad. The old adage applies: When in doubt, throw it out.”
The health department offered these tips to people without power:
To have and to hold … to donate blood
Judy Hanne Gonzalez is so committed to giving blood that she and her husband, David, were married during a Red Cross blood drive.
The longtime volunteer blood donor, who also is executive director of the Northland Chapter of the Red Cross in Duluth, wants to make sure donations don’t slow down for a holiday, the Red Cross said in a news release.
So the Northland Chapter is conducting a blood drive from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 5 at 2524 Maple Grove Road, across from Burning Tree Plaza. As an extra incentive, people who donate blood and platelets between June 29 and July 8 will be entered to win one of five $200 GiftCertificates.com packages redeemable for such items as books, music, electronics and restaurant meals.
The Independence Day promotion is part of a larger summerlong campaign (May 21 through Sept. 5) in which one donor will win a gift certificate package worth $5,000. For more information, visit redcrossblood.org/GiveWin.
“Summer holidays pose a serious challenge to the nation’s blood supply as donors have less time to give lifesaving blood,” said Hanne Gonzalez, who was married in 1998. “But patients don’t get to take a holiday from needing blood. Approximately every two seconds, a patient in the United States needs blood.”
Asthma and the cities
Residents of nonmetro Minnesota are much less likely to suffer with asthma than their counterparts in the Twin Cities, according to a new report released this week by the Minnesota Department of Health.
Adult asthma affects 302,000 Minnesotans, or 7.6 percent of the population, the report found. That’s better than the national rate of 9.1 percent. The state’s childhood asthma rate of 7.0 percent also is lower than the U.S. rate of 8.4 percent.
However, rates of asthma hospitalizations are 50 percent higher among children and 30 percent higher among adults living in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area compared with rates for children and adults in the rest of the state, the report found. Also, rates of emergency department visits for asthma are 70 percent higher among children living in the metro area than in nonmetro Minnesota.
“We are not sure what is causing this difference,” said Wendy Brunner, the health department’s Asthma Program epidemiologist, in a news release. “But we know a lot about what can trigger asthma episodes, such as secondhand smoke, mold, pet dander and air pollution, and that theoretically hospitalizations can be prevented when a person’s asthma is managed through medication and minimizing exposure to triggers.”
About half of all Minnesota adults with asthma had an asthma episode during the past year and about 60 percent of youths had poorly controlled asthma, the report said.