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County experts offer food safety and wellness tips for Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving approaches, Johnson County Government asks residents to be mindful of your health and safety. Be cautious when buying fresh turkeys; do not put fats, oils and grease down the drain; and remember your general well-being during the holidays.

Fresh turkeys

Johnson County K-State Research and Extension urges caution in buying fresh turkeys too early before Thanksgiving.

Fresh, whole turkeys should be cooked — or frozen — within one or two days of purchase. County extension agents suggest purchasing fresh turkey right before you plan to serve it. Fresh turkey will only last up to two days in 40-degree temperatures before it becomes unsafe to cook and eat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend four tips to safely cook holiday turkey. Residents may call the extension office at 913-715-7000 for more guidance on food safety.

Fats, oils and grease

Holiday cooking creates large amounts of fats, oils and grease in the kitchen. Johnson County Wastewater urges residents to never pour these cooking byproducts down the drain.

When fats, oils and grease enter into sewer systems, the materials harden and cause pipes to clog. Research suggests fat and oil buildups cause nearly half of the 36,000 sewer overflows that happen in the U.S. every year.

Never pour left over oil or grease down a storm drain; it can kill wildlife in creeks and streams. Johnson County residents can recycle cooking oil for free at the Johnson County Household Hazardous Waste facility. Residents can schedule a drop-off online.

General health and safety

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer 12 tips for holiday health and safety.

First and foremost, wash your hands often. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.

Stay warm. Cold temperatures can cause serious health problems. Stay dry and dress warmly in several layers of loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing.

Manage stress. The holidays can take a toll on mental health. Keep a check on over-commitment and over-spending. Balance home, work and play, and keep a relaxed and positive outlook.