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Another Plus to Cardiac Rehab: Better Sex

06/12/2018 jleff 0

THURSDAY, Dec. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Heart patients taking part in cardiac rehabilitation could receive a spicy side effect from the program — a boost in their sex life.

READ: Benefits of Sex Go Way Beyond the Obvious

Attending cardiac rehab …

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Rethinking Where You Shop for Food

06/12/2018 jleff 0

THURSDAY, Dec. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) — A change as simple as where you do most of your food shopping could translate to a better diet.

READ: How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

A San Diego State University study looked at the food shopping habits of…

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Should You Consider Marijuana for Sleep?

05/12/2018 jleff 0

If you’re reading this through bleary eyes, you might be one of the 70 million people in the U.S. suffering from insufficient sleep or some other type of sleep disorder.

And it’s more than likely you’ve tried many ways to get a good night’s s…

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Self-Care Isn’t Selfish—Or Why I Love Pilates

04/12/2018 jleff 0

The other morning as I stretched before Pilates class, I heard the woman next to me tell our teacher, “I’m six months postpartum.” The woman next to her added, “I’m 10 months postpartum.”

I laughed and said, “I’m 12 years postpartum,” which pro…

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Most Americans Lie to Their Doctors

04/12/2018 jleff 0

TUESDAY, Dec. 4, 2018 (HealthDay News) — As many as 4 out of 5 Americans withhold important information from their doctor that could prove crucial to their health, a new study shows.

READ: When It’s Time to Change Doctors

Between 60 and 80 percent …

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10 Ways to Beat SAD

03/12/2018 jleff 0

Many people feel a little disappointed and sad when summer ends. There’s a long winter ahead, shorter days and often a less laidback lifestyle with the return to school and crazy schedules.
Some people, however, get really depressed and SAD—as …

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Is All Well With Your Drinking Water?

03/12/2018 jleff 0

MONDAY, Dec. 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) — More than 15 million homes in the United States get their water from private wells, according to federal estimates.

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates public drinking water, people with …

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Tips to Stop Urine Leaks

29/11/2018 jleff 0

By Amanda Fisher, for Women’s Health FoundationAs a physical therapist specializing in women’s health and pelvic physical therapy, I have seen a trend toward younger and younger female athletes coming into the clinic embarrassed and concerned about lea…

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Saunas Seem to Do a Heart Good

29/11/2018 jleff 0

THURSDAY, Nov. 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Love your time in the local sauna? Your heart may love it, too.

New research from sauna-loving Finland suggests that for people aged 50 and older, saunas may lower their odds of risk of dying from heart dis…

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This Exercise May Slow Aging

28/11/2018 jleff 0

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Running, swimming, cycling and other types of endurance exercise can slow cellular aging, but strength training may not, a new study suggests.

READ: Dynamic Circuit Training for Weight Loss

Researchers lo…

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The Truth About Losing Weight

27/11/2018 jleff 0

This time of year, before the New Year’s resolutions even begin, many people begin to think about weight. Or, maybe they’ve always thought about weight but are thinking about it even more lately.

How could you not, with all the focus on food? You…

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Health Surrogates Often in Dark About Loved One’s Wishes

27/11/2018 jleff 0

HealthDay News

TUESDAY, Nov. 27, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Few people entrusted with making difficult health care decisions for older loved ones actually know what the patient would want, a new study contends.

“Advance care planning cannot focus on the patient alone. The health care agent has to be brought into the conversation,” said study leader Dr. Terri Fried, a professor of medicine at Yale University.

For the study, researchers interviewed about 350 patients aged 55 and older in the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, as well as the people they entrusted to make health care decisions for them (health care surrogates).

While 75 percent of surrogates felt extremely confident in their knowledge of the patients’ preferences, only 21 percent knew what the patient would want in the event of: severe physical problems causing them to be bedbound; severe mental decline that left them unable to recognize family members; and severe daily pain.

The findings highlight the need for changes in how long-term care decisions are made, according to the researchers, who noted that such decisions often involve older people filling out forms on their own.

Older adults and their health care surrogates may require guidance from health professionals when discussing treatments, outcomes, and preferences, the researchers said.

“Patients and surrogates need help to see the importance of more communication,” Fried said in a Yale news release.

That might include a formal assessment of surrogates’ knowledge of the patient’s preferences in terms of specific health consequences, she explained.

The study was published Nov. 26 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

SOURCE: Yale University, news release, Nov. 26, 2018

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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It’s Time for My 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

26/11/2018 jleff 0

Is it that time already? How could it be that time already?


It’s time for my 2018 Holiday Gift Guide.

Brimming with suggestions for seasonal shopping, I’ve put together a selection of gift ideas from my favorite things at this year’s NY NOW Home and Lifestyle Show. Each August, I put on my media badge and walk the aisles of NY NOW held at the Javits Center in NYC to see what’s new and what items would make nice gifts for the holidays. I tend to gravitate to products made by women, including mature female makers.

There’s so much to choose from—jewelry and apparel, items for home and the home office, unique gifts for family, friends and even your pet. I only share products that I know are available online or at retail stores.

Ooh, ooh, ooh, LMK which ones strike your fancy. I recommend you give a gift to yourself too. Why not, you deserve it!

Let’s get started …

Jewelry to Adorn You

  • Nest Pretty Things are made by Tamar and Ronen. Originally from Tel Aviv, the two now live in Vermont and design colorful jewels with a touch of romantic and bohemian flare.

  • Baked Beads are created by David and Robin. Also in Vermont, the two are joined by a team of 20+ who make clean, colorful jewelry, scarves and other accessories. Their crystal earrings are so pretty.


  • Mu⋅Kul Goyal Jewelry caught my eye with its Ode to the phenomenal woman necklace. It’s made of brass and will definitely stand out on a black top or dress. Check out their quirky and fun ID collection.


  • Maya J Empowered bracelets are a reminder to face each day with a smile, breathe through the hard times and keep the faith that things will get better. Ooh, ooh, ooh, this is a great gift for a yogi. (BTW, these are one of Oprah’s Favorite Things,  I know how to pick the best for my readers!)


  • MEND Jewelry is designed by Jorydn DiOrio from Minneapolis. Jordyn says MEND is a brand of three elements: beauty, meaning and stories. Take a look at the Pendulum collection, designed intentionally with 10 stone pairings.


Hats, PJs and Cozy-Chic Cottons

  • French Knot Artisan Hand-Knit Accessories are my absolute favorite gift from NY NOW. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this entrepreneur Lindsay Mason’s line of hats, gloves, hand warmers and headbands. I think this is the gift I’m going to give myself this year. French Knot works hand-in-hand with over 1,000 women artisans in Nepal to skillfully hand-knit their products using fair trade principles. Note: You can find these accessories at Anthropologie, too.


  • Cotn Collection offers soft pima cotton pajamas and loungewear. I’m always on the hunt for high-quality 100 percent cotton PJs, so I was glad to see these offerings from a company run by a boomer woman.


  • The Cat’s Pajamas makes luxurious women’s pajamas in vibrant colors and the finest fabrics. Can you tell I like PJs? The PJs come in whimsical designs with cats, dogs, leopards and other fun prints. Fabrics range from pima cotton, voile, flannel and poplin.


  • Barefoot Dreams makes cozy chic attire for women, men and children, including coats, hoodies, tops, PJs and more. I was sad to learn that the boomer woman who founded this company, Annette Cook, passed away from cancer in 2012. I’m glad her company lives on in her memory.


Cheery Gifts for the Home and Home Office

  • Peleg Design revolves around three basic principles: functionality, aesthetics and humor. Their products for the home and office feature the cutest designs, such as a yogi sponge holder (ooh, ooh, ooh, I just adore this sponge holder), a YolkPig egg separator and Soap Opera dish scrubber holder.


  • Eternal Roses last years. These roses are preserved in such a way to stay fresh without water for up to three years!



  • Gem-Water bottles are designed to transform your water and support your mind, body and spirit. Each sealed glass gem pod or vial is filled with a unique gemstone blend, providing a hygienic way to transform your daily drinking water into gem-water. There’s also a gem bowl just for pets.


Gifts For Family, Friends and Even Your Pet

  • PPD makes festive water and food bowls for Max the cat or the Bark, Bark Gang.


  • Harry Barker sells a range of gifts for your dog to enhance play, walking, eating and sleeping. They make a Spa Day Gift Set for your dog!


  • Today Is Art Day aims to bring art to its fans in ground-breaking ways. I thought their Artist Action Figures were nice gifts for those who are fond of art and art history.


  • The School of Life is a global organization dedicated to developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture. I found their stationery, home and gift products to be stimulating. I liked their Emotional Baggage tags and bags.


  • Gratitude Jars founder Claire Summers says her gifts are about capturing the spirit of living, life events, memories and words of love.


Happy shopping! Happy gifting!

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6 Common Gym Mistakes to Avoid

26/11/2018 jleff 0

MONDAY, Nov. 26, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Once you’ve taken all the right steps to find a gym suited to your needs, avoiding some common mistakes will ensure maximum results for the time spent working out.

READ: Starting An Exercise Routine

First, …

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Buyers Of Short-Term Health Plans: Wise Or Shortsighted?

26/11/2018 jleff 0

Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News
November 20, 2018

Supporters of the nation’s health law condemn them. A few states, including California and New York, have banned them. Other states limit them.

But to some insurance brokers and consumers, short-term insurance plans are an enticing, low-cost alternative for healthy people.

Now, with new federal rules allowing short-term plans that last up to three years, agents said, some consumers are opting for these more risky policies. Adding to the appeal is the elimination of a federal tax penalty for those without comprehensive insurance, effective next year. Short-term health plans often exclude people with preexisting conditions and do not cover services mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

Colorado resident Gene Ferry, 66, purchased a short-term health plan this month for his wife, Stephanie, who will become eligible for Medicare when she turns 65 in August. The difference in the monthly premium price for her new, cheaper plan through LifeShield National Insurance Co. and the policy he had through the ACA is $650.

“That’s a no-brainer,” said Ferry, who considers the ACA “atrocious” and supports President Donald Trump’s efforts to lower costs. “I was paying $1,000 a month and I got tired of it.”

He signed up his wife for a three-month plan and said that if she is still healthy in January, he will purchase another one to last six months. But Ferry, who is covered under Medicare, said if something happens to her before open enrollment ends — which in Colorado is in January — he would buy a policy through the exchange.

There’s a lot of “political jockeying” over the value of short-term plans, said Dan Walterman, owner of Premier Health Insurance of Iowa, which offers such policies. “I think people can make their own choices.”

Walterman, 42, said he chose a short-term policy for himself, his wife and their 3-year-old daughter — at a sixth of the price of more comprehensive insurance. “The plan isn’t for everybody, but it works for me,” he said, adding that he gets accident coverage but doesn’t need such things as maternity care or prescriptions.

Essentially, short-term plans cost less because they cover less.

Some plans have exclusions that could blindside consumers, such as not covering hospitalizations that occur on a Friday or Saturday or any injuries from sports or exercise, said Claire McAndrew, director of campaigns and partnership for Families USA, a consumer advocacy group.

“People may see a low premium on a short-term plan and think that it is a good option,” she said. “But when people actually go to use a short-term plan, it will not actually pay for many — or any — of their medical expenses.”

The plans can exclude people with preexisting conditions such as cancer or asthma and often don’t cover the “essential benefits” required under the health law, including maternity care, prescription drugs or substance abuse treatment. They also can have ceilings on what they will pay for any type of care. Insurers offering such plans can choose to cover — or not cover — what they want.

“Democrats are condemning them as ‘junk plans,’ but the adequacy of the health plan is in the eye of the beholder,” said Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies for the libertarian Cato Institute. “The only junk insurance is a plan that doesn’t pay as it was promised.”

The plans originally were designed to fill brief gaps in insurance coverage for people in the individual market. When the ACA went into effect, the Obama administration limited short-term plans to three months, but the Trump administration this year expanded that to 364 days, with possible extensions of up to three years. Critics fear healthy people may abandon the ACA-compliant market to buy cheaper short-term plans, leaving sicker people in the insurers’ risk pool, which raises premiums for those customers.

But some agents said the policies may be good for healthy people as they transition between jobs, near Medicare eligibility or go to college — despite significant limitations.

“It’s hard to encourage those types of people to spend hundreds of dollars extra on a health insurance plan that they are rarely using,” said Cody Michael, director of client and broker services for Independent Health Agents in Chicago.

Michael said agents also get a higher commission on the plans, providing them with more of an incentive to sell them. But he advises clients that if they do have a chronic illness, they may face denials for coverage. “This is old-world insurance,” he said. “You basically have to be in perfect health.”

Dania Palanker, assistant research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms, said preexisting conditions aren’t always well understood — or well explained. A person might discover too late that, for example, they aren’t covered if they have a stroke because an old blood test showed they had high cholesterol.

But Ryan Ellis, a 40-year-old lobbyist and tax preparer in Alexandria, Va., who is considering a short-term plan for himself, his wife and his three children, said his decision will be made “very deliberately, with my eyes wide open knowing the advantages and disadvantages.”

Some agents said they offer the short-term plan as a last resort — only after warning clients that if they have an accident or get sick, they might not be able to renew their plan. That means they could be stuck without insurance while waiting for the next open-enrollment period.

“They could really be in a world of hurt,” said Colorado insurance agent Eric Smith. “This is just a ticking time bomb.”

Roger Abel, of Marion, Iowa, said he’s willing to take the risk. He has a short-term plan for his 2-year-old daughter. Abel said he pays about $90 a month for her, compared with more than $450 that he would have paid for comprehensive coverage. He and his wife have a separate policy from before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

But Abel, who is an investment adviser, has a backup option. He said he could always start a group health plan under his company that would provide his daughter with more coverage.

Neena Moorjani, 45, said she wanted to buy a short-term plan but can’t because she lives in California, where they were prohibited under a law signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown this year. Moorjani, a tax preparer in Sacramento, said she rarely gets sick and doesn’t need an ACA plan.

She decided on religious-based health coverage known as a Christian ministry plan. These cost-sharing programs use members’ fees to pay for others’ medical bills. Such programs are not regulated by government agencies and may not cover preexisting conditions or preventive care.

When California banned short-term plans, “I was really, really upset,” Moorjani said. “I wish I had the freedom to choose what health care insurance is appropriate for me.”

KHN’s coverage in California is supported in part by Blue Shield of California Foundation.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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10 Common Misconceptions About Diabetes

21/11/2018 jleff 0

Diabetes is where blood glucose (sugar) levels rise higher than normal. The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes, says the American Diabetes Association. Here, your body doesn’t use insulin correctly. Your pancreas makes extra insulin to compensate for it. Over time, though, it can’t keep up and can’t make enough insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels.

Read more about diabetes.

Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose with exercise and healthy eating. But, your doctor may need to also prescribe oral medications or insulin to help you meet your target blood glucose levels. Type 2 usually worsens over time. So, even if you don’t need medications at first, you may need them later.

We’re here to debunk some common myths about this condition.

Myth: Diabetes is caused by eating sugar.
Any diet high in calories—from sugar or another source—contributes to weight gain. And weight gain increases your type 2 diabetes risk.

Myth: If you’re overweight, you’ll develop type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Yes, being overweight is a risk factor for developing diabetes. However, other risks factor into getting it, like family history, ethnicity, age and level of physical activity. Many people with type 2 diabetes are a normal weight or moderately overweight.

Myth: People with diabetes can’t eat chocolate or sweets.
Fact: No foods are off limits to people with diabetes. The key is eating them in small portions and saving them for special occasions. That way you can maintain a healthy meal plan.

Myth: People with diabetes aren’t producing enough insulin.
Fact: People with type 2 diabetes typically have enough insulin when they’re first diagnosed. But this insulin isn’t working properly. The insulin doesn’t help cells absorb glucose from food. Their pancreas may eventually stop making enough insulin. Then, they’ll need injections.

Myth: You’re more likely to catch a cold if you have diabetes.
Fact: You’re no more likely than anyone else to get a cold, the flu or other illness. However, illnesses can make diabetes harder to manage.

Myth: You’ll have to give yourself shots.
Fact: Yes, injectable medications do require shots. Other treatments may not require shots. You may use insulin pens, oral medications or blood sugar meters, which don’t require injections.

Myth: You can’t live an active life if you have diabetes.
Fact: Exercise is crucial to controlling diabetes. It can help your muscles use glucose without relying on insulin. It also helps your cells use insulin better. Your health care professional can help you devise an exercise program that’s right for you.

Myth: You don’t need to test your blood sugar because you’ll know when it’s low or high.
Fact: You can’t rely on how you’re feeling to determine your blood-sugar level. You may be urinating a lot because you have a bladder infection, not because your glucose is high. You may not be feeling well because you’re getting a cold, not because you have low blood sugar. The only way to accurately know your blood-sugar level is to test it.

Myth: Diabetes has no symptoms.
Fact: Some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed, but others may have symptoms. Common symptoms include feeling very thirsty, urinating often, feeling very hungry even though you’re eating, experiencing blurry vision and or having cuts or bruises that heal slowly.

Myth: People with diabetes lose a limb or go blind.
Fact: Diabetes can cause serious damage like blindness, kidney disease, limb loss, heart disease and stroke when left uncontrolled. That risk can be reduced by controlling blood sugar. Early detection, urine tests, eye exams and foot exams can also lower the risk of complications.

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It’s Time for Women to Get Brain Healthy, Too

20/11/2018 jleff 0

How smart are you about your brain’s health?

If you’re like most women, you know it’s something you should be thinking about. Twenty-two percent of women surveyed in our annual WomenTalk survey ranked brain health as their No. 1 concern. However, few of us know what we should be doing to make it happen.

“Your brain is your most important organ, and we should be actively caring for it,” asserts Jill Lesser, president of WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s, part of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “We make healthy choices for our bodies every day, but rarely think about our brain health.”

Our WomenTalk survey findings agree, reporting that only 29 percent of us discuss brain health occasionally, and a mere 8 percent do so regularly.

Lesser, her team and an array of supporting organizations, including HealthyWomen, want to grow those numbers. Together, they plan to launch Be Brain Powerful, a new campaign to support improvements in women’s brain health.

The nationwide campaign, which goes live December 3, focuses on a message of empowerment. For while it’s true that mental function can change with age, there are things we can do to help ensure our brain health span equals our lifespan.

None of these strategies—a good diet, exercise, adequate sleep and stress reduction—are too surprising, since they are already powerful foes against disease and disability. Still, says Lesser, we need to realize that these healthy habits are a powerful friend to our brain’s health as well.

To help support such habits and more, Be Brain Powerful is inviting women to join its free 30-Day Brain Health Challenge. When you sign up, you’ll receive a simple daily exercise, along with a downloadable calendar and news on the latest in brain health. (You can also follow along on Instagram at BeBrainPowerful.)

The idea behind the challenges, says Lesser, is to think holistically since “the risk factors for cognitive decline exist in many areas, both in physical health and mental health.”

Lesser, whose organization focuses on getting women to take care of their brain health, notes that about two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s are female, and the disease affects one in six women aged 65-plus. She says it is one of the sad and difficult ironies that women make up both the majority of those affected by Alzheimer’s and those who are caregivers for victims of the disease.

The latter is especially important to remember, she says, because research finds that millions of women commonly sacrifice their own health, well-being, careers and financial status in the name of caregiving. (Nearly 20 percent of those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s say they’ve had to quit their job to care for someone.) The chronic stress of caregiving can take an enormous toll on the caregiver’s physical and mental health, adds Lesser.

On the bright side, many of these caregivers are women in their 40s, a group that may end up being “the first generation to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s and participate in clinical trials to actually be able to intervene in dementia before the symptoms even appear.”

Members of this sandwich generation—caring for both their children and their parents at the same time—see the impact of brain development and decline firsthand. Explains Lesser: “There’s growing recognition about the importance of cognitive development in infants and children as well as the important of caring for our brain’s health throughout our lifespan.”

Moreover, the growing popularity of at-home genetic tests is stoking a desire among women (and men) to learn more about their own genetic risk factors for diseases like Alzheimer’s. And this, says Lesser, can create an opportunity for education around ways to reduce the impact of such factors.

“People are living longer, and we want to empower women to actively care for their brains,” says Lesser. As evidence mounts for the positive effects of a healthy lifestyle on cognitive health, our goal is “for people to go to their doctors and ask for a check-up—from the neck up.”

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Worried About the Salmonella Scare With Turkey This Holiday? Don’t Be

20/11/2018 jleff 0

HealthDay News

TUESDAY, Nov. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Ongoing news alerts of potential salmonella contamination in certain brands of raw turkey might have you rattled as Thanksgiving dinner approaches.

But although the danger is real, simple kitchen precautions can help eliminate it, health experts say.

First, the latest on the threat: More than 147,000 pounds of raw turkey products from Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales LLC have been recalled after some products tested positive for a salmonella strain associated with an outbreak linked to raw turkey products, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The recalled Jennie-O Turkey products were shipped nationwide, and samples with salmonella were produced on Sept. 11, 2018.

The salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey products began in November 2017, and so far there have been 164 cases of illness in 35 states. One person in California has died and 63 people have been hospitalized, the CDC reported.

So far, investigators have been unable to pinpoint a particular source of the salmonella-contaminated raw turkey, and “it might be widespread in the turkey industry,” the CDC noted.

That’s all a bit scary, and of course the best way to avoid getting ill is to avoid the recalled brands (see link below).

But one emergency department physician who sees lots of cases of severe food poisoning says cooks can take steps to eliminate the risk.

First, “salmonella can be spread from one person to another, so it’s vital to wash your hands before and after preparing or eating food,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, who practices at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“Always remember to thoroughly wash hands, cutting boards, countertops, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they are in contact with raw turkey,” he added. “It’s best to use a separate cutting board for raw turkey and any other raw meats, to prevent cross-contamination.”

When thawing your Thanksgiving bird, do it in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in a sink where cold water is changed every half-hour, Glatter said. “Do not thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter, since this can be a quick way to spread bacteria such as salmonella,” he said.

During the cooking process, “it’s important to cook raw turkey thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria such as salmonella,” Glatter explained. “Whole turkeys, ground poultry, turkey breasts, and turkey burgers should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165-degrees Fahrenheit to kill harmful bacteria.”

That temperature guide holds true for reheated leftover turkey, too, he said. To be certain, use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey.

“It’s important to refrigerate all leftovers at 40-degrees F or colder immediately, but also within two hours of preparation to reduce the risk of food poisoning,” Glatter said.

Besides salmonella, another important bacteria to be aware of that may cause food poisoning is Clostridium perfringens, he said.

“These bacteria can flourish in cooked foods that are left out at room temperature, and are the second most common bacterial cause of food poisoning. People can develop abdominal cramps along with nausea and vomiting six to 24 hours after eating,” Glatter noted.

“Outbreaks of Clostridium perfringens occur most commonly during the winter months, especially November and December,” he said, and “have been associated with foods often prepared during the holidays such as turkey, as well as roasts and other slowly cooked red meats.”

SOURCES: Robert Glatter, M.D., emergency physician, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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