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Health tips: Holiday germs and more

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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Nov 25, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- STORING LEFTOVERS TO AVOID BACTERIA

Careful attention to storing and heating holiday leftovers is important to reduce the risk of food poisoning, U.S researchers advise. William Stallings, a clinical dietitian at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, urges people to follow the "2-2-4" formula for safely storing foods. Two hours: Store all leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer no longer than two hours after cooking. Stuffing should be removed from the turkey and refrigerated. Leftover turkey should be cut in into smaller pieces and stored separately. Two inches: Use shallow containers, about 2 inches deep, to store food because it allows food to cool quickly. Four days: Eat leftovers within four days.


The holidays are known as the season of giving, but the last thing people want to give to friends and relatives is germs, a New York researcher says. Dr. Phillip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and diagnostic immunology at New York University Medical Center, says whether traveling, shopping or just going to parties, basic hygiene may help reduce the spread of disease. Studies show 80 percent of germs are spread through hand contact and therefore during the holidays germs are easily spread by touching and shaking hands. The ultimate goal is for people to practice good personal hygiene, by washing hands either with soap and water or hand sanitizer, according to Tierno.


During the holidays many events center around food but a Washington researcher says controlling portion size can guard against weight gain. The "Portion Distortion Interactive Quiz" section of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Web site at shows the difference in size and calories between portions offered 20 years ago and what is often a standard serving today. "This site not only teaches people how portion sizes have changed and calories have increased, but also the amount of physical activity one has to do to burn up those extra calories," says Karen Donato, coordinator of NHLBI's Obesity Education Initiative. Some holiday cookies provide 220 more calories than those offered 20 years ago and even a chicken Caesar salad can pack on the calories. One offered 20 years ago typically contained 390 calories, while many served today have 700 calories.


Jobs that are both challenging and require responsibility seem to protect against the development of dementia, a U.S. study finds. The research, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, examined 221 patients with dementia, mostly Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia, and 229 healthy people from the same area, randomly selected -- ages 55 to 99. People who had worked in jobs that had been intellectually demanding, had afforded a high degree of control and had required socializing with people other than immediate work colleagues were less likely to have dementia.


(EDITORS: For LEFTOVERS, contact Vivica Aycox at (215) 707-7790 or For GERMS, Monica Cox at (404) 351.0926. For PORTION, Karen Donato, at (301) 496-4236)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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