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Hot Weather and Food Poisoning

Hot Weather and Food Poisoning

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

June 2019

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, I have been invited to a potluck dinner in a local park.  But I am concerned about the hot weather and food poisoning?

A: You have reason to be wary:  More people get food poisoning in the hot weather of summertime than at any other season, according to the Department of Agriculture.  Here are some ways to prevent this from affecting you and your friends, as suggested by Consumer Reports on Health (July 2019,

PLAN YOUR GROCERY RUN – Avoid potential food poisoning, especially in hot weather, starting with how you navigate the grocery store.

  • “Pick up perishables, such as dairy and meat, right before you hit the check-out line to reduce the risk of them spoiling.”
  • “At check-out, make sure that frozen and cold items are packed in the same bag, which will help everything stay cool. But be sure to pack meat and seafood separately to keep them from contaminating other foods.”
  • “Don’t transport your groceries in the trunk; put them inside your car where it’s air-conditioned. If you won’t be going straight home after shopping, use a cooler or an insulated bag to stash meat and other perishables.”

ORGANIZE YOUR COOLERS – “Wrap meats tightly before placing it in a cooler to keep any juices from contaminating the other food, or put it in a separate cooler.”

  • “At an outdoor gathering, don’t leave perishable food in the same cooler as beverages. People will be opening and closing the ice chest frequently, and that can raise the temperature inside the cooler.”

GRILL SAFELY – “Keep knives, tongs, and platters you use for raw meat away Hot weather and food poisoning of BBQ Foodsfrom cooked food. If you’re cooking kebabs, use different skewers for meat and vegetables so that you can be sure the meat is cooked to the right temperature without burning the veggies.

  • “Use a meat thermometer, even for burgers, because you can’t judge the done-ness of meat or poultry by color.”
  • “Don’t partially cook meat at home and then take it to a picnic or barbecue to finish cooking. Half-cooked meat can be warm enough to encourage bacterial growth but not hot enough to kill the bacteria.”

KEEP AN EYE ON MORE THAN JUST MEAT – To avoid food poisoning, “Prepared food should not be left outside of a refrigerator or cooler longer than 2 hours (or an hour if the temperature is higher than 90 degrees F).”

  • “That goes for every element of your meal, from a crudité platter to grilled chicken. You might think you can get sick only from meat or dairy, but other food items can be host to dangerous bacteria as well.” (Examples include cooked rice and pasta.  Keep them chilled until serving, or serve by setting them in a bowl of ice.)

BE CAUTIOUS AT THE FARMERS MARKET – “Buy from vendors who wear disposable gloves to handle food – and who change them when they move between raw and ready-to-eat or cooked foods, or when they stop handling foods for such tasks as accepting cash.”

  • “Buy meat and eggs only if they have been stored in coolers or otherwise refrigerated.”
  • “Don’t buy raw milk or raw milk products. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says they’re some of the riskiest foods.”

Sharing food at picnics or barbecues can be one of the greatest pleasures of summertime.  By taking a few precautions, you can make sure that these happy events won’t be followed by the misery of food poisoning. 

If you would like to see more Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends articles go to the World Walk To Wellness website.


Stay Safe in the Heat and Still Get Your Steps In

Stay Safe in the Heat and Still Get Your Steps In

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

June 2019

Q: Mr. Pedometer, do you have any advice on how to stay safe in the heat and still get your steps in when the temperatures climb to triple digits?

A: Don’t stop taking walks outdoors, but take them when it is cooler – early morning or late evening when it is still light out.  Avoid being in direct sunlight as much as possible.  Pick walking destinations where there is shade. 

As always, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.  In partnership with East Bay Regional Parks, Kaiser Permanente suggests 6-8 glasses of water per day; carrying a water bottle with you, and eating fruits and vegetables with high water content.

Alameda County sent out an “excessive heat advisory” message, based on the National Weather Service’s forecast this week.  Here are some of the things to be aware of:


In the hottest part of the day, it’s a good idea to stay in an air-conditioned space (building or car).  However, we still need to plan time to get outdoors and walk – just at cooler hours.



Distracted walking is causing more accidents and deaths

Distracted walking is causing more accidents and deaths

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

June 2019

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, I heard that “distracted walking” is causing more accidents and deaths.  What are some ways we can be safer?              

A: That is a timely question since June is National Safety Month.  The National Safety Council website confirms that “distracted walking” is causing more accidents and even deaths.  They offer information on how we can keep safe when we are pedestrians as (and even inside our own homes):

“Head Up, Phone Down”

“Distracted walking incidents are on the rise, and everyone with a cell phone is at risk. According to a Governors Highway woman distracted walking with a phone in her hand and her head down not watching where she is walkingSafety Association report, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were struck and killed by motor vehicles in 2017. This number mirrors 2016 fatalities. Total pedestrian deaths in 2017, both traffic- and non-traffic-related, were 7,450, according to Injury Facts.

“We are losing focus on our surroundings and putting our safety – and the safety of others – at risk. The solution: Stop using phones while walking, and not just in crosswalks and intersections. Over half of distracted walking injuries occur in our own homes, proving that we need to stay aware of our surroundings, whether they’re new or familiar.

“While many communities are implementing measures to become more ‘walkable,’ like adding more paths and traffic-calming measures, there still is a long way to go to keep pedestrians safe. Malls surrounded by parking lots, few sidewalks, blind intersections, and high traffic areas all contribute to pedestrian fatalities and injuries.”

“All Age Groups are Vulnerable”

“While pedestrian-vehicle injuries are the fifth leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 19, according to, no age group is immune. Here are a few tips from NHTSA and NSC for children and adults of all ages:

  • “Look left, right and left again before crossing the street; looking left a second time is necessary because a car can cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time
  • “Make eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to make sure they see you
  • “Be aware of drivers even when you’re in a crosswalk; vehicles have blind spots
  • “Don’t wear headphones while walking
  • “Never use a cell phone or other electronic device while walking
  • “If your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic
  • “Never rely on a car to stop
  • “Children younger than 10 should cross the street with an adult
  • “Only cross at designated crosswalks
  • “Wear bright and/or reflective clothing
  • “Walk in groups

“Walking is one of the best things we can do to stay healthy, but only if we put safety first. At the National Safety Council, we don’t believe in accidents. Please join us in doing everything you can to prevent senseless injuries and deaths.”

Yes, walking can be dangerous, but so can almost any activity.  Mr. Pedometer points out that our “Walk ‘n’ Talk” sessions on Saturday mornings are with a friendly group that watches out for one another, and we choose pretty safe locations as our destinations.  We hope you’ll join us, to see for yourself!

8 Tips to Avoid Falling; The Leading Cause of Accidental Death in the Elderly

8 Tips to Avoid Falling; The Leading Cause of Accidental Death in the Elderly

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

June 15, 2019

Q: Mr. Pedometer, I read that “Every 11 seconds in the U.S., an older adult ends up in the emergency room due to a fall. ‘It’s the leading cause of accidental death in the elderly,’ says Catherine Colon-Emeric, M.D., chief of geriatrics at the Duke University School of Medicine. Do you have any advice that could help us avoid falling?

A: You certainly are not alone in having concerns about falling – and with good reason. The June issue of Consumer Reports on Health has some tips to help prevent falls.  Below are the 8 tips that can help all age groups but especially the elderly to avoid the risk of a broken hip or a concussion:


    – “Some prescription and over-the-counter meds can affect balance. For instance, diuretics may lower blood pressure too much and lead to dizziness on standing. Some allergy drugs, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl and generic) may cause dizziness and sleepiness….Some meds can cause dehydration, which can also increase the risk of falling when you stand up…. At least once a year, review your meds – Over-the-counter, alternative products, and supplements – with your doctor.” 


    – “Eyesight naturally changes with age… [which] can make it more difficult to see shifts in terrain and other stumbling blocks. Hearing loss, too, has been linked to an increased risk of falling. A 2012 study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, for example, found that middle-aged people with mild hearing loss were three times as likely to fall. See your eye doctor every year or two…. Have your ears checked at least every three years starting at age 50, or earlier if you are having trouble hearing.”


    – “Rugs, clutter, steps, cracked driveways and sidewalks, poor lighting, slick surfaces – all can contribute to tumbles. If you’re concerned about falling in the house and unsure about how to proceed, the Institute on Aging ( has a home safety checklist.”


    – “Exercises that enhance gluteal, leg, and core strength Elderly man stretching and exercisinghelp with balance, says Colon-Emeric. ‘These muscles make it easier to catch yourself before you fall and make it easier to get out of bed, lift yourself off the toilet, or get out of the car.’ Moves like knee bends (stand tall and bend your knees as if you were going to sit in a chair behind you) and sideways walking (keeping feet parallel, step out to the side with one leg, bring the other foot to meet it, then step out again) are part of a balance program called Otago that’s recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”


    – “’Exercise is important, but simply practicing getting off the floor can make you stronger and less likely to fall,’ says Kathleen Bell, M.D., a psychiatrist and chairwoman of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She suggests getting up and down 10 times three to four times a week. (When starting out, do this next to a bed or another stable object you can hold onto.)”


    “If you struggle with balance, choose shoes with sturdy, nonskid soles that fit snugly enough so they’re not sliding around underneath you. ‘You don’t have to opt for ugly shoes, but you don’t want to be walking around in bedroom slippers either,’ Bell says. If you’re unsteady, heels aren’t a good idea, nor are those hot-weather favorites, flip-flops. They offer zero support, catch on rugs, often have little grip on slick surfaces, and slip off easily.”


    “Having a pet can be good for your health, but your beloved pooch may also trigger falls by tripping you or pulling you down…. ‘Besides making sure you’re matched with a dog that suits your lifestyle, working with a trainer to learn how to control your dog and using a good leash and collar can help minimize falls,’ says Grace Anne Mengel, V.M.D., an assistant professor of clinical primary care at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.”


    “Research suggests that simply being afraid of falling increases your likelihood of taking a tumble. In part, anxiety about falling can make it harder to focus on your surroundings. This fear can also cause you to limit physical activity, which in turn can lead to muscle weakness. If you find yourself frequently worried about falls, speak to your doctor.”

I hope these suggestions can help you avoid falling and allow you to continue to enjoy taking walks.


When “Social Drinking” has Gotten Out of Control

When “Social Drinking” has Gotten Out of Control

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

April 24, 2019

Q: Mr. Pedometer, I have a dear friend whose “social drinking” has gotten out of control. Any tips on friendly advice I might offer?

A:  April is Alcohol Awareness month, sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). Here’s what they offer:

“Drinking too much alcohol increases people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer. This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month, NCADD encourages you to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of drinking too much.

“If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting. Here are some strategies to help you cut back or stop drinking:

  • “Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.

  • “Keep track of how much you drink.Empty Alcohol Bottles
  • “Choose a day each week when you will not drink.
  • “Don’t drink when you are upset.
  • “Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home.
  • “Avoid places where people drink a lot.
  • “Make a list of reasons not to drink.
  • “If you are concerned about someone else’s drinking, offer to help.”

One of the ways you might help your friend is to copy the above list to share. If health concerns don’t seem to convince your friend to limit alcoholic beverages, perhaps you could remind him/her that reducing drinking alcohol is a great way to lose weight…and save money!

If your friend is unable to stop drinking on his own, below are some things that can help you to help your friend.

Learn All You Can About Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

Utilize the resources we have provided including, Learn About Alcohol, Learn About Drugs and Family Education.

Speak Up and Offer Your Support

Talk to the person about your concerns, and offer your help and support, including your willingness to go with them to get help. Like other chronic diseases, the earlier addiction is treated, the better.

Express Love and Concern

Don’t wait for your loved one to “hit bottom.” You may be met with excuses, denial or anger, but be prepared to respond with specific examples of behavior that has you worried.

Don’t Expect the Person to Stop Without Help

No doubt, you have heard it before — promises to cut down, to stop, but it doesn’t work. Treatment, support, and new coping skills are needed to overcome addiction to alcohol and drugs.

Support Recovery as an Ongoing Process

Once your friend or family member is receiving treatment, or going to meetings, remain involved. While maintaining your own commitment to getting help for yourself, continue to support their participation in ongoing care, meetings and recovery support groups. Continue to show that you are concerned about their successful long-term recovery.

  • Don’t Preach: Don’t lecture, threaten, bribe, preach or moralize.
  • Don’t Be a Martyr: Avoid emotional appeals that may only increase feelings of guilt and the compulsion to drink or use other drugs.
  • Don’t Cover Up, lie or make excuses for them and their behavior.
  • Don’t Assume Their Responsibilities: Taking over their responsibilities protects them from the consequences of their behavior.
  • Don’t Argue When Using: Arguing with the person when they are using alcohol or drugs is not helpful; at that point they can’t have a rational conversation.
  • Don’t Feel Guilty or responsible for their behavior, it’s not your fault.
  • Don’t Join Them: Don’t try to keep up with them by drinking or using yourself.

Helping a friend with an addiction is very difficult but you may be the only help they get. Educate yourself and reach out for help from professionals. You could be saving your friends life and the lives of others.

Hope Line


24hr Affiliate Referral

Hope Help Healing



Cell phones while driving put many in danger

Cell phones while driving put many in danger

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

April 17, 2019

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, I have noticed more and more people ignoring the law and using cell phone while driving. Just Drive Logo for Driver Awareness month Don’t people realize the dangers to themselves and others?         

A:  Sadly, your observations are correct.  April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so here’s what the National Safety council has to say about the problem:

  • “Drivers talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones are 4X as likely to be involved in a car crash.”
  • “Contrary to popular belief, the human brain cannot multi-task. Driving and talking on the phone are two thinking tasks that involve many areas of the brain.  Instead of processing both simultaneously, the brain rapidly switches between two cognitive activities.”

  • Talking to someone on a cell phone while driving is more dangerous than conversing with someone in the car. “Drivers distracted by cell phones are more oblivious to changing traffic conditions because they are the only Man taking picture with cell phone while drivingones in the conversation who are aware of the road.  In contrast, drivers with adult passengers in their cars have another set of eyes and ears to help keep the driver alert of oncoming traffic problems.”

  • “A controlled driving simulator study conducted by the University of Utah found that drivers using cell phones had slower reaction times than drivers with .08 blood alcohol content, the legal intoxication limit.”

This is a good month to take the pledge to drive cell-phone-free.  It could save your life (and the lives of others).

Take the Pledge online.

I pledge to Just Drive for my own safety and for others with whom I share the roads. I choose to not drive distracted in any way – I will not:

  • Have a phone conversation – handheld, hands-free, or via Bluetooth
  • Text or send Snapchats
  • Use voice-to-text features in my vehicle’s dashboard system
  • Update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo or other social media
  • Check or send emails
  • Take selfies or film videos
  • Input destinations into GPS (while the vehicle is in motion)
  • Call or message someone else when I know they are driving

Before you start your car, turn off your phone and Just Drive.