HEALTH DEPARTMENT STAFF ATTENDS WASTEWATER TREATMENT CONFERENCE
Dorothy David, Director of Environmental Health with the Henry and Stark County Health Departments and Dennis Sullivan, a licensed private sewage pumper, both of whom also serve on the Henry County Planning Committee attended the 2014 Onsite Wastewater Treatment Conference held recently in Bloomington, IL.
The Henry and Stark County Health Department's announce that a member of their staff and community partners recently attended the 2014 Onsite Wastewater Treatment Conference.
Dorothy David, Health Department Environmental Health Director; and Dennis Sullivan of Geneseo a Private Sewage Pumper attended the training held recently in Bloomington, IL. David and Sullivan are also members of the Henry County Planning Committee.
The training was sponsored by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
Dorothy David, Health Department Director of Environmental Services notes, "This is a critical year for the onsite wastewater industry in Illinois as there are so many changes to the Illinois Department of Public Health's Private Sewage Disposal Code which became effective as of August 28, 2013. These changes include, but are not limited to, the requirement of owner's signature on the applications, obtaining three continuing hours prior to the renewal of the installer/pumper's license, and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. For more information go to our link at:
David adds, "The training also included information on sewage carried diseases; soil dispersal; IDPH updates, wastewater 101 and long-term solutions; water softener studies; EcoFlo biofilters; and sampling sewage systems."
The Health Department would also like to inform area residents that the United States Environmental Protection Agency announced their decision on issuing National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permits for point source discharge of pollutants from new or replacement individual wastewater treatment systems to federally protected waters in Illinois. This action is effective on February 10, 2014. To see the final permit, response to public comments, and related documents please visit:
For more information on the Environmental Health, Emergency Preparedness, or Communicable Disease Programs of the Henry and Stark County Health Departments call the Department at (309) 852-0197 or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments.
DOROTHY DAVID, DIRECTOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
HEALTH DEPARTMENT OFFERS HOLIDAY FOOD SAFETY SUGGESTIONS
The Environmental Health Division of the Henry and Stark County Health Department notes that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "76 million Americans contract foodborne diseases every year, affecting more people than the common cold." But many of the symptoms of food poisoning mimic those of the garden-variety flu, sometimes leaving people to wonder if the cause was the food they ate or a virus they picked up along the way.
Despite the prevalence of foodborne illnesses, it can be hard to recognize them. Like people with the "stomach flu," those with foodborne illness usually suffer from vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Dorothy David, Director of Environmental Health Services with the Health Department states, " There's no real easy way to distinguish between many types of foodborne illness and a flu bug, but with the flu, one might be more apt to see generalized aches and pains and just overall not feeling well."
The telltale sign of food poisoning is usually the quick onset of the symptoms. Foodborne illnesses are, by and large, illness that occur in close proximity to exposure. If a large number of people have the same symptoms at the same time, then the cause is most likely food poisoning. However, if people are ill at different times their symptoms are more likely to be flu-related, as it takes time to pass the virus from person to person.
David adds, "Though most foodborne disease outbreaks don't occur during the holidays (they occur most often in the summer), the holidays warrant special attention because certain foods and food practices popular during the season can increase the risk for foodborne illness."
The Health Department staff offers the following food safety suggestions:
* Clean: Wash hands and food -contact surfaces often. Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, knives, sponges, and countertops.
* Separate: Don't cross-contaminate. Don't let bacteria spread from one food product to another. This is especially true for raw meat, poultry and seafood. Experts caution to keep these foods and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods.
* Cook: Cook to proper temperatures. Foods are properly cooked when they are heated for a long enough time and at a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness.
* Chill: Refrigerate promptly. Public health officials advise consumers to refrigerate foods quickly because rapid cooling to 41 degrees slows the growth of harmful bacteria. Refrigerators should be set at 41 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at 0 degrees, and the accuracy of the settings should be checked occasionally with a thermometer.
According to David, "The holidays don't always make it easy for food handlers to follow this advice. One reason is that people get caught up in the hectic pace of the holiday season. People get sloppy. They're busy, and they lose the vigilance that they might follow at other times of the year. The traditional advice should always be applied: Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold."
For more information on food safety you may contact the Health Department at (309) 852-0197 (Henry) or (309) 852-3115 (Stark) or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments.
HENRY COUNTY NOTES FIRST POSITIVE TEST FOR WEST NILE IN BIRD
The Environmental Health Division of the Henry and Stark County Health Departments announce that they have just received their first positive test for West Nile Virus in a dead bird found in Henry County.
This is the first evidence of the virus in Henry County. However, the Health Department staff notes that the bird from Henry County is 1 of 61 positive birds already found in Illinois. Dorothy David, Health Department Environmental Health Director notes, "The fact that West Nile Viral Encephalitis is now in Henry County is not a cause for alarm, as our advice to the public remains the same - to minimize exposure to mosquitoes, while seeking out and eliminating breeding sites."
The Health Department advises that from now until the first frost is the time to take the following protective measures:
1) Protect yourself and your children from the bite of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes bite most agressively at dusk and dawn; therefore, cover exposed skin and use insect repellent if you must be out during these periods. Also, be sure all screen doors and windows are in good repair to protect yourself while sleeping.
2) Plan your end of the Summer activities (example: last campouts) on cooler or windy weekends. Avoid calm, muggy, dusky or dawn periods.
3) Mosquitoes are still breeding. Therefore, continue to remove any containers of standing water present on your property up until the first frost.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT OFFERS TIPS ON FOOD SAFETY DURING A POWER OUTAGE
The Henry and Stark County Health Departments note that refrigerators and freezers are two of the home's most indispensable servants. Therefore, when the power fails, or when the appliance breaks down, we often panic. If your power goes out, knowing what to do with the food in your refrigerator and freezer can help you stay healthy. The last thing you need after a weather emergency is a case of food poisoning.
If your power fails, the Health Department reminds you that all need not be lost, and suggests the following hints to help you keep your cool.
* If the power fails, always keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Never open them just to "check things out." You'll lose precious cool air, and make matter worse.
* If you choose to place ice in and around refrigerator items, make certain you also insert enough containers to catch what melts, and don't allow foods to sit in water for any length of time.
Dorothy David, Health Department Director of Environmental Health Services, notes "An unopened full freezer will keep foods frozen for up to 2 full days. If it's necessary to add ice to the freezer, make certain you handle it only with adequate ventilation and while wearing protective gloves."
David adds, "When power is restored, check all foods, fresh or frozen, to determine safety. Discard any food that has a unusual odor, color, or texture, or feels warm to the touch. Remember the saying, "When in doubt, throw it out."
For more information of food safety, contact the Environmental Health Division of the Henry and Stark County Health Department at (309) 852-0197 or 792-4011 (Henry) or 852-3115 (Stark) or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments.
Henry County Health Department 4424 US Hwy 34 Kewanee, IL 61443 309-852-0197 Copyright 2007 All rights reserved