—  November 17, 2016  —
CLICK HERE for our Flu Info Page
  Community Councils 
The first round of Community Council gatherings is in the books and the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge (HCCC) is off to a great start.
Community members in Elgin met on Nov. 9, while those in Carpentersville and Aurora met Nov. 15. These meetings signaled a beginning to the dialogue on ways to improve the health of their families, friends and neighbors. The goal of the Challenge is to engage the participants and have them provide the ideas, concerns and opinions the health department will need to shape its programs of the future to benefit all of Kane County. In this way, we are “Giving Kane a Voice!”
While the Councils will initially focus on nutrition and physical activity as ways to reduce chronic disease, the plan is to expand their reach to address other content areas selected by the members. The first conversations were designed to identify those programs which currently exist and are a benefit to the community. Then, the participants were asked to name those obstacles that represent barriers to being able to fully utilize the current programs. Finally, the next step was to propose potential solutions to overcoming the obstacles.
Council meetings will convene every month to discuss ongoing projects and participate in continuing dialogue around social determinants of health and their impact on the community.

To be eligible for the HCCC, the Health Department was chosen as one of fifty communities in the United States to participate. The Aetna Foundation and American Public Health Association provided Kane County with a $10,000 award to start the Challenge and after two years, a $500,000 award will be awarded to the top performing community. There are also four $50,000 awards for runner-up communities.
Let us know if you or someone you know would like to become a part of this effort and join one of the councils by emailing Terry Roman at romanterry@co.kane.il.us or call at 630-264-7653. Please follow the Challenge using the hashtag #GiveKaneAVoice, and learn more by visiting our Challenge Web page and  and healthiestcities.org.
National Influenza Vaccination Week  
The Kane County Health Department, along with other public health departments and healthcare organizations across the state, are encouraging residents to get a flu shot during National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), Dec. 4-10. Here in Illinois NIVW is observed simultaneously with Vaccinate Illinois Week. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu vaccination activity drops off quickly after the end of November. In other words, people stop getting the flu shot right at the time the CDC says typically is the start of the peak flu season.

Vaccinate Illinois Week intentionally coincides with NIVW, a national observance established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination. We want to encourage more people to be vaccinated during the holiday season and into the new year.

The CDC recommends that everyone six months of age and older should be vaccinated against influenza, especially pregnant women, young children, people 65 years of age and older, and anyone with underlying health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or a weakened immune system. A flu vaccine is needed every year because flu viruses are constantly changing.
The vaccine is available at many locations, including neighborhood pharmacies and your primary care provider. A convenient “vaccine finder” can be found on our Web site by clicking HERE.
People with the flu can spread it to others as far as 6 feet away. Flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has a flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
In addition to getting a flu shot, you can also reduce your risk by:
 • Washing your hands regularly with soap and water.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Practicing good cough etiquette, such as coughing into your elbow instead of your hands.
• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth; germs are spread this way. Avoiding close contact with sick people. If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
Some people are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu. This includes older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and persons who live in facilities like nursing homes. Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

Our Website contains a wealth of information about the flu and its prevention.
To learn more, you can find the info by clicking HERE.
Take care to enjoy holiday feasts, follow a few simple food safety tips 
One of the favorite holiday traditions is providing your family with a great, sumptuous feast. Nothing beats sitting around the table with your loved ones to share in the spirit of the season. One way to make sure that your meal, or meals, go off without a hitch, is to take precautions to prevent the spread of food borne illness. The Kane County Health Department offers the following food safety tips to help ensure your holiday meals are prepared in a safe manner.
The meal should be planned days in advance, especially if you need to thaw large quantities of frozen food. The safest way to thaw frozen food is in a refrigerator at 41 degrees F, or below. Be aware though, that if you are thawing something large (say a 20-pound turkey) you must allow enough time for it to thaw completely. It takes approximately 24 hours for each five pounds of frozen food to thaw in a refrigerator, so a 20-pound turkey will take three to four days to completely thaw. Never thaw your food at room temperature. The outside of the food will be warm while the inside is still frozen, allowing potentially disease-causing bacteria to grow. 
Poultry and stuffed foods should be cooked so that they reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F; cook meat and fish to at least 145 degrees F; cook pork, ground meats and ground fish to at least 155 degrees F. If you are cooking a beef roast and like it rare, it should be cooked to at least 130 degrees for 121 minutes. A very important and inexpensive piece of equipment that every kitchen should have is a metal stem thermometer, which is available at any grocery store. How else will you know if your food is cooked to the proper temperature if you don't use a thermometer? Don't rely on guessing.
You should also take precautions to avoid cross-contamination. Cross contamination is the transfer of harmful microorganisms (germs) from one food to another. Contaminated hands, utensils or equipment can transfer microorganisms. Examples of cross-contamination are handling raw poultry or meats, and then handling some other food with juice from the meat or poultry still on your hands, or cutting raw poultry with a knife, then using that knife to cut vegetables without first washing the knife. That's why it is important to frequently wash hands, counters and cooking utensils as a meal is prepared.
Once the meal is over, cool down leftovers to 41 degrees F or below within six hours. The best way to do this is to place the leftover food in shallow pans (no thicker than three inches) before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer. Also, slice large cuts of meat and de-bone poultry before cooling or freezing. Avoid leaving leftovers out at room temperature once the meal is over.
This holiday season, don’t let
food-borne illness spoil your fun
— Fight Bacteria!
Food borne illnesses can be serious enough to require hospitalization and may even be fatal. Apply safe food handling principles and practices to every meal you prepare to help avoid illnesses during this holiday season and throughout the year.
  To make sure your food is safe,
  follow these simple guidelines:
  Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often
Don’t cross contaminate
  Cook: Cook to the right temperature
  Chill: Refrigerate promptly
More information about food safety can be found by visiting our website HERE, at facebook.com/kanehealth and on Twitter @KaneCoHealth.
Facebook facebook.com/kanehealth
Twitter @KaneCoHealth
Kane County,
  Visit the Health Matters page of our website HERE
You'll find an online version of this newsletter as well as an archive of past issues.
There is also a Sign Up Form on the page, for those who would like to be added to our email list to receive future Health Matters newsletters.