Holiday preparation tips you need to know, say health and travel experts

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — During the holidays, people begin to think about family gatherings and preparations for travel.

Josh Ramirez, Health Director for the City of Harlingen, said it is always best to finish our holiday dishes or follow the recommended food safety tip when it comes to storage. 

According to Ramirez, once a dish is cooked properly there is a two-hour window for families to enjoy the food. 

Ramirez said if you are still planning to have food out after those two hours it is best to keep it hot at 140 degrees or keep it cold at 40 degrees.

If those options are not something you are planning to do, Ramirez recommends storing all foods away properly.

“Keep it in a shallow pan where it can cool down faster, once you put it in smaller trays in the fridge make sure the products are covered, you don’t want to cross-contaminate from other products that will be spilling to the product,” said Ramirez. 

Ramirez said foods are safe to be inside the refrigerator but after three days you need to either get rid of them or place them in the freezer. 

When it comes to travel, Rio Grande Valley airports often see an increase in foot traffic during the holidays.

Marv Esterley, Director of Aviation for Valley International Airport, said during the holidays it is always best for people to book their flights early to prevent a stressful traveling experience. 

Esterley said if you book in advance, it is less likely for you to experience a delayed or canceled flight.

Esterley also wants travelers to remember that it is best to avoid bringing certain items on the plane. 

“You can take food on the plane you know, it is going to be checked on the checkpoint but you can’t take like liquids that are more than three ounces so if you’re going to take a bottle of wine for celebration you’re not going to be able to do that in your carry-on,” said Esterley.

Esterley said having proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is important especially when flying out of the country. 

He also encourages the public to contact the airline before leaving home to make sure their flight is still on schedule.

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