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Safely Preparing Your Turkey Ensures a Happy Thanksgiving

Silver Cross Offers Tips to Celebrate the Holiday Safely

Joliet, IL (November 18, 2011)— In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged  as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. However, in modern times when we celebrate Thanksgiving our thoughts center on giving thanks and the turkey, pure and simple.

But safely preparing a turkey is anything but simple. So whether you plan to keep your meal traditional with Grandma’s favorite recipes, or want to add a few gourmet options, make sure these safety tips are ingredients in all your dishes.

1.  Keep the stovetop free of clutter. Trying to cook all your dishes at once could cause grease to accidentally spill onto a range top and cause a fire.

2. Do not try to hold your child in one arm while cooking with the other. Holding a child while cooking is an invitation for a burn. “During Thanksgiving families are busy preparing the dinner and can get easily distracted and unfortunately that’s how painful burns can occur,” says Daniel Checco, D.O., Emergency Medicine physician at the Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center located at 143rd St. and Bell Rd in Homer Glen. “So to avoid any burns it’s best to keep your child out of the kitchen while you’re cooking.”

3. Never put a glass casserole or lid on the stove or over a burner. If it gets hot and explodes, it will send dangerous shards of glass in all directions.

4. Do not pour water on a grease fire. Pouring water on a grease fire can cause the fire to spread. In the event of a range-top fire, turn off the burner, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding a lid onto the pan. Leave the lid in place until the pot or pan is cooled.

5. Avoid using a turkey fryer because they pose a number of distinct safety concerns, including burn and fire hazards.

6. Keep a clean work surface. Be sure to wash surfaces, utensils, the sink and hands after handling raw food. It’s a good idea to identify one cutting board for raw meats and one for other uses. “Unfortunately cross contamination commonly occurs when preparing holiday meals and the last thing you want your guests to do is get food poisoning from your holiday fest. Be sure to be mindful of cleaning your food preparation tools and cutting boards,” says Dr. Checco.

7. Un-stuff the turkey. According to the USDA, for optimum safety, stuffing a turkey is not recommended. For more even cooking, cook the stuffing outside the bird in a casserole dish until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Thaw the bird with care. If using a frozen turkey, the USDA recommends thawing it in the refrigerator in its original wrapping, in a tray or pan that can catch any juices that may leak.

9. Call for help. If you’ve accidentally cooked the giblets inside the turkey, melted the “hock lock” or have any other questions about cooking your Thanksgiving bird, be safe and call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854).

10.  Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency and know how to use it. Read the directions carefully before an actual emergency occurs.

About the Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center
The development of free-standing emergency centers throughout the country were in response to consumers who want more convenient ways to care for injuries and illnesses that are too serious to wait for a doctor’s appointment.  Silver Cross opened the first licensed free-standing emergency care center in the State at 143rd St and Bell Rd. in Homer Glen. 

The Emergency Care Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and staffed by Silver Cross Hospital’s board certified emergency medicine physicians and nurses. Paramedics are onsite 24/7 at the Homer Glen facility to immediately transfer patients by ambulance to the nearby hospital if they need to be admitted to the hospital.

Patients can check ER wait times—if any at www.silvercross.org for both the Homer Glen Free-Standing Emergency Care Center as well as Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet.

In the same building, Silver Cross also offers MRI, CT, X-ray, Ultrasound EKG and laboratory services. And there are several physician offices including a pediatrician, podiatrist, spine surgeon, orthopedic surgeons, urologists, cardiologists, and family practice physicians. For more information, call (708) 364-6337.

About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895.  Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for the last seven consecutive years and as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 2,900 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 304-bed acute care hospital and 10 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Construction is well underway to build a state-of-the-art replacement hospital opening in Feb. 26, 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox.  To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

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