Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week
This month, sites in the Moundville area will be among 5,000 U.S. drop-off locations collecting shoebox gifts for children overseas during Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week, Nov. 18-25. Moundville families, churches and groups are busy transforming empty shoeboxes into fun gifts filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items. The Samaritan’s Purse project partners with local churches across the globe to deliver these tangible expressions of God’s love to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. For many of these children, it will be the first gift they have ever received. This year, Moundville-area residents hope to collect more than 38,000 gifts to contribute to the 2019 global goal of reaching 11 million children. Moundville Community Baptist Church, 160 Chancey Ln., Moundville, Mon. – Sat., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Sun., 2-4 p.m.; Mon, Nov. 25: 9 a.m.-noon. For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 770-777-9342, or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement. Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 168 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

Thanksgiving, Christmas Have Different Causes for Car Crashes

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The causes of traffic crashes differ between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons, but both periods are equally as deadly for those on the roads, according to an analysis of state traffic records over the past five years by researchers at The University of Alabama.
For instance, crashes caused by drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol are more prevalent around Christmas and New Year’s Day, while crashes the days around Thanksgiving are concentrated around typical rush hours, a study by UA’s Center for Advanced Public Safety showed.
“We wanted to get the characteristics of the two periods as close as possible with regard to factors that were clearly not related to the two holiday seasons themselves,” said Dr. David Brown, a researcher with CAPS who directed the study. “The first, and most important, finding was that these two holiday seasons are very much different when it comes to traffic crash causation.”
Finding the differences between the two periods can help target law enforcement strategies and other driver motivational and educational efforts, he said.
The study employed the Critical Analysis Reporting Environment, or CARE, a software analysis system developed by CAPS research and development personnel to automatically mine information from existing databases. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, or ALEA, provided crash records for the study.
Researchers examined 15-day periods around the holidays from 2014 to 2018 – Nov. 18 to Dec. 2 for Thanksgiving and Dec. 18 to Jan. 1 for the holidays at the end of the year.
During the Christmas holidays, officer’s reported drugs and alcohol more than during Thanksgiving, with non-alcohol drugs statistically overrepresented in that season, according to the analysis.
The Christmas season also had more collisions with deer, despite that Thanksgiving has more deer collisions than an average 15-day period. The deer collisions in late November increase at the end of the year likely because of hunting season and natural mating season. These collisions occur more at night, including dusk and dawn, than during daylight.
During Thanksgiving, crashes are overrepresented near the start and end of a typical work day, not unexpected since the 15-day period includes more of those days than the Christmas time frame, Brown said. During the Christmas season, crashes are more frequent from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., according to the study.
Also, the Christmas season has more crashes in the rain, nearly 7,000 crashes on average compared to about 3,000 for the Thanksgiving period. The highest contributing factor reported by officers for rainy crashes during the end-of-year holidays was “driving too fast for the conditions.”
During the Thanksgiving period there are a larger than expected number of crashes likely related to the annual Iron Bowl football game between UA and Auburn University, with the cities of Tuscaloosa, Auburn and Birmingham overrepresented. There are also more crashes on Interstate 59 during the Thanksgiving period.
For the Christmas season, single-vehicle crashes occur more often as well as collisions with trees. The cities of Mobile, Dothan and Jasper also have more crashes than expected during this period.
However, the number of those who died in traffic crashes is about the same, with 198 deaths over the five-year period during the Thanksgiving timeframe and 197 during the comparable period in the Christmas season.
“Clearly, this is not a significant difference in fatalities, which tells us that both of these time periods are equally dangerous when it comes to deaths on the roadway,” Brown said.
The holiday periods have about three or four more deaths than expected in an average 15-day period.
For both periods, the safest time to drive is during the day on the holidays as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day have fewer crashes than the rest of the period.
Tips to stay safe include buckling up, not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol nor riding with a driver who is, avoiding electronic distractions, slowing down, anticipating bad weather and driving defensively by keeping a safe distance between vehicles ahead and by letting aggressive drivers pass.
Adam Jones, Communications Specialist Senior/Research Strategic Communications the University of Alabama

Holiday Food Safety

FDA gives simple steps to help ensure that harmful bacteria won’t be a guest at your festivities.

How to Cook a Whole Chicken or Turkey

USDA Food Safety 15 Sec -The only way to know food has been cooked to a safe internal temperature is to use a food thermometer.

Three Ways to Avoid a Trip to the ER This Thanksgiving
Emergency Physicians Offer Tips for a Safe Holiday

Thanksgiving should be a time for family, friends and plenty of delicious food, not for preventable trips to the emergency room. These suggestions from the nation’s emergency physicians could help you avoid an unexpected trip to the emergency room this holiday season.

“This Thanksgiving, a few simple steps to avoid preventable injury or illness can go a long way toward making sure you safely enjoy the holiday,” said Paul Kivela, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). “It is important to take the time to enjoy this special time of year. But, if the need arises, emergency physicians treat patients 24-hours a day, even on holidays, and we will be there for you.”

Follow food safety guidelines. For many people, the most important part of Thanksgiving is a big meal surrounded by friends and loved ones. Mishandling raw meat or other ingredients could transmit harmful bacteria or lead to some very unpleasant stomach pains.

Wash your hands thoroughly when handling uncooked meat and keep it separate from other foods. Be sure to sanitize any surface that touches raw food. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that oven temperatures should be no lower than 325 degrees.

If you have allergies and you did not cook the meal yourself, remember to ask about the ingredients and how food was prepared. And, don’t forget to refrigerate all leftovers within 2 hours. Pace yourself when a big meal is involved, whether you are preparing, eating or cleaning up afterward. If your gathering includes alcoholic beverages, drink in moderation. And of course, do not drink and drive.

Take your time to avoid common injuries. It can be hard not to get caught up in the holiday hustle. Careful planning for meal preparation can help you make sure there is plenty of time to get the job done. Be careful, knife injuries from slicing food are some of the most common Thanksgiving mishaps. Many accidents occur when carving or cutting too quickly.

Accidents or fires can be caused by trying to do too many things at once, exposure to hot liquid or oil splashes. Lifting heavy pots or plates? Bend at the knees and avoid back injuries. Deep frying a turkey can be especially dangerous, especially for novice cooks. Never attempt to deep fry a frozen turkey, it should be completely thawed out first. And, frying a turkey should be done a safe distance away from any flammable structure.

Exercise safely, don’t overdo it. Participating in a traditional Thanksgiving sporting event? If a “Turkey Bowl” or other athletic activity is part of your celebration remember to stretch first and avoid overexertion. Avoid weather-related issues such as hypothermia or frostbite by dressing appropriately for the weather outside. The ER will likely see a spate of holiday-related sprains, muscle tears or other injuries. Especially for those who may not exercise regularly, one way to decrease the likelihood of injury is to play touch football rather than tackle.

Thanksgiving can also be a challenge for those coping with mental health issues. Whether it comes from the pressure to entertain, financial strain, family tension or other issues, stress runs high this time of year. It is important to recognize and treat the symptoms of anxiety, depression or other mental health disorders with professional help as needed. Better self-care can ward off things that may send you to the ER like panic attacks, complications from alcohol abuse or other emergencies.

“Distractions, multi-tasking and poor decisions make Thanksgiving one of the busier days in many emergency departments. If an emergency does occur, don’t delay a trip to the ER, putting off care might seem convenient at the time but poses serious health risks,” said Dr. Kivela.

ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.