Category: June 2019

Ask A Dietitian: Intro to Healthy Eating

Join us for a fun and interactive evening at the Smith County Memorial Hospital cafe to learn how cooking at home is simple, delicious and healthy! Steve Smith, Registered Dietitian and chef from the Smith County Hospital and Ashley Svaty, Nutrition, Food Safety and Health Extension Agent for Post Rock District will answer your questions related to food and health. Participants will enjoy a delicious meal followed by a program and a question and answer session.

Cost for the event is $5 and will be paid at the event.

Registration will begin at 5pm and event will begin at 5:30p on June 27th at the Smith County Memorial Hospital Hometown Cafe.

Questions about the event?  Email Ashley Svaty at

Register here:

By:  Ashley Svaty

Protect Your Skin

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States with one in five Americans developing skin cancer in their lifetime. The AAD estimates that approximately 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. Sun avoidance is the best defense against skin cancer; seek shade, wear protective clothing, and generously apply sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends choosing a sunscreen that states the following on the label:

  • Broad Spectrum. Protects skin from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, both of which can cause cancer.
  • SPF 30 or higher. Indicates how well a sunscreen protects from sunburn.
  • Water Resistant. Sunscreens can be “water resistant” for 40 minutes or “very water resistant” for 80 minutes.

Sunscreens are not waterproof or sweat proof and need to be reapplied every two hours. Most adults need approximately one ounce of sunscreen to fully cover their body. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade and make sure you have plenty of sunscreen on.  Talk with your healthcare provider about your sun exposure and perform regular skin self-exams to detect skin cancer early, when it’s most treatable, and see a board-certified dermatologist if you notice new or suspicious spots on your skin, or anything changing, itching or bleeding.

By:  Ashley Svaty

Dealing with Chiggers

Chiggers are mites, not insects. And like all mites, the adults have eight legs.  However, the larva only has six legs.

Though the bright red female adult is tiny (about 1/20th of an inch) the larva is much smaller (about 1/150th of an inch). Only the larvae are parasitic and attack animals. The larva injects digestive juices into the skin, which causes a rapid swelling. In the center of the swelling is a “feeding tube” from which the chigger sucks out liquefied skin cells. Feeding usually continues for 2 to 4 days.

Protection from chiggers uses two approaches. The use of a repellent can discourage chiggers from attacking. The most effective repellents are Deet and permethrin. Both chemicals are applied to your clothing. The second approach seeks to reduce chigger populations. Keeping the lawn mowed regularly can help, but large populations may require the use of an acaricide. Effective products include bifenthrin (Talstar, Hi-Yield Bug Blaster II, Hi-Yield Bug Blaster Bifenthrin, and Ortho Lawn Insect Killer Granules), cyfluthrin (Tempo 20, Bayer Vegetable & Garden Insect Spray) and carbaryl (Sevin).

For more information go to:

By: Cassie Homan

Pressure Canner Testing

Now is the time to get dial gauges tested on pressure canners. Gauges should be tested annually before canning is done to ensure canned goods are preserved safely. Our testing unit cannot test All American pressure gauges but can test Presto, National, Maid of Honor, and Magic Seal canners.

Newer models of the All American canner have both regulator weights (weighted gauge) and the dial gauge. (See top picture.) The weight is more accurate than the gauge and customers should use the weight in order to determine if they are at the needed pressure. If the weight begins to rock at the desired pressure and the gauge is off by more than 2 psi the company recommends replacing the gauge. The gauge is now used as a reference to know when the unit is at 0 psi and can safely be removed.

To have your dial gauge tested for accuracy, please drop off the lid and gauge at your local Post Rock District office.

By:  Ashley Svaty