Food poisoning can come from a number of common mistakes. Trying to figure out exactly what made you sick can be just as upsetting as the physical symptoms of food poisoning.
In the summer months especially, barbecues and cookouts are breeding grounds for the latest strains of E.coli, salmonella, and campylobacter. Here are important safety measures to take to protect yourself and your loved ones from food poisoning.
Store Food Properly
Whether it’s meat, sides, or drinks, keep it cool if you’re not cooking or eating them right then and there. The summer heat allows bacteria and insects to fester on any plate that’s not covered and cooled. Keep coolers and refrigerators handy and keep an eye on all exposed foods. It only takes a few seconds for a fly to lay eggs on your plate or for germs to begin multiplying on unstored meat.
To be extra cautious, avoid sharing plates, utensils, and cups — even with your closest companions.
Wash Everything (Except The Chicken)
Statistics show that raw chicken is one of the most dangerous meats when it comes to food poisoning. Washing raw chicken seems like a good idea, but it can actually increase the risk of salmonella and other foodborne germs. The water that splashes around your sink, faucet, and countertops becomes prime real estate for germs to spread. If you want to be extra sure that all germs are cooked out of your meats, consider pre-baking before grilling.
Surfaces should also be washed and rinsed before, between and after all food prep and cooking. Salmonella can easily be transmitted on a kitchen counter, sink or cooking surface if you don’t stay alert. And of course, always wash your hands with soap and hot water throughout the prep and cooking process.
Turn Up The Heat
Keep a thermometer handy to avoid under or overcooking your summer feast. And always think before you eat anything pink. Rare steaks are OK, as long as they are heated to the proper temperature, but avoid undercooked burgers, seafood, pork, and chicken. Pre-baking and broiling your meat in a safe kitchen environment will go a long way in preventing contamination. Refer to a meat temperature chart for exact directions.
Know The Signs Of Food Poisoning
Common food poisoning symptoms include stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Here are some of the signs of the most frequently reported food-borne germs:
Campylobacter – Diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain within two to five days.
Salmonella – Diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, fever within 12 to 72 hours.
Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) – Stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting within 30 minutes to six hours.
E. coli (Escherichia coli) – Severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Around five to 10 percent of people diagnosed with this infection develop a life-threatening complication within three to four days.
Cyclospora – Diarrhea (watery), appetite loss, weight loss, cramps, stomach pain, bloating, gas, nausea, and fatigue within one week.
Feel Like You Have Food Poisoning? Visit the UrgentMED Network
All 17 of UrgentMED Network’s convenient walk-in urgent care clinics treat your emergencies with urgency and special care. With licensed-physicians available seven days a week, we will get you in and out with weekday, weeknight, and weekend hours, without creating another headache.
For patients who can’t afford to be patient with their health, UrgentMED is the go-to source for urgent care and information.
A gathering of family and friends, sharing laughs and stories over an impressive food festival, Thanksgiving is undeniably one of the most popular holidays. But it’s also one of the most popular days of the year, if not THE MOST popular day of the year for urgent care visits. Everything from food poisoning to burns to overindulging can bring the holiday to a close for many people. We’re all about injury prevention here at the affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network. We want you to have a drama-free holiday, which is why we’re sharing this guide with you – Five Reasons for Thanksgiving Day Urgent Care Visits.
Knife Injuries Are Common on Thanksgiving
When you’re carving a turkey or chopping veggies, anything can go wrong. Knife injuries top the list. Be sure to focus on what you’re doing, and putting your bird on a non-skid cutting board also helps. If you are hurt while slicing your food, the walk-in clinics that make up the UrgentMED network can help. We’ll treat you and have you back in time for dessert.
Is it really necessary to have both a glass of red and white wine? Thanksgiving presents the perfect backdrop for “social drinking” – even to a fault, with some people drinking too much, and ending up at urgent care. If you’re going to drink, be sure to also drink lots of water, which helps dilute the effect of alcohol. Do not drink and drive. Traffic fatalities involving alcohol increase tremendously during the holidays.
Don’t Overindulge on the Wrong Thanksgiving Foods
Do you get stuffed on Thanksgiving? If so, you’re not alone. Many of us throw caution to the wind on Thanksgiving when it comes to our food choices, and the term “pigging-out” becomes the norm. But people with high blood pressure, diabetics, or even people with high cholesterol, for example, can easily over-indulge, triggering medical issues that can send them to urgent care. People allergic to certain foods, can also “get caught up” in the day – many unknowingly devouring foods that trigger a major reaction. If you’re not sure what’s in a dish, ask the host about it. Be careful!
Don’t Get Burned
Not surprisingly burns are another culprit that keeps urgent care medical staffers busy on Thanksgiving.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), most home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day, and recommend you take the following precautions:
- Never leave the stove unattended and always keep an eye on your dishes
- Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing and keep flammables away from hot ranges or ovens
- Keep children and pets away from hot stove tops
- Turn pan handles to the back and away from the front of the range
- Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen
Be careful when using your turkey fryer. Many people get burned from misusing them. And as a precaution, do not overfill the oil or leave your turkey fryer unattended, and use the fryer outside and away from your home.
You can treat minor burns at home with a burn cream and loose bandage. But if your burn bubbles or blisters, it is a good idea to seek medical attention.
Food Poisoning is a Huge Culprit
Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and more bacteria and viruses cause lots of illnesses, sometimes death. Recently, Salmonella has been making the news cycles. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has linked a nationwide salmonella outbreak to raw turkey. Yes – turkey- the star of Thanksgiving, just a few weeks before it’s special day.
Here are some steps you can take to prevent Salmonella infection when handling your big bird, courtesy of the CPSC:
- Thaw turkey in the refrigerator, not on the counter
- Handle raw turkey carefully; always wash your hands after handling raw turkey
- Cook your turkey thoroughly – to an internal temperature of 165°F to prevent food poisoning
Keep an eye out for illness. People get sick from Salmonella 12 to 72 hours after swallowing the germ, which causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. If you experience these symptoms, get to an urgent care location near you, immediately.
UrgentMED is Here for You on Thanksgiving
We hope our guide helps you and your family stay safe over the holiday and beyond – with no medical emergencies. But if you need to make a Thanksgiving Day urgent care visit, we’re nearby. With 15 locations, UrgentMED is the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California. We provide a wide variety of medical services: diagnostic testing, surgical and non-surgical procedures, and specialized care. We can help. Here’s to a safe, enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday!
Have you ever had a bad stomach and wondered if it is a bug or food poisoning? This is actually a very common problem, seeing as the two have very similar symptoms.
How can you tell the two apart? Here are a couple of things you should know about the stomach bug and food poisoning.
What it is: The stomach bug in medical terms is called viral gastroenteritis. This is when your stomach and intestines become inflamed. This may be caused by viruses such as norovirus, rotavirus, and adenovirus. It is very contagious, and the most common way to catch it is through contact with someone who already has it.
Symptoms: After being exposed to a virus, symptoms may start to appear after 24 to 48 hours. Symptoms include fever, nausea, diarrhea, stomach or intestinal cramps, constipation, weight loss, and joint stiffness.
You are likely to feel better in a couple of days. However, there are those that experience symptoms for a week or longer.
Treatment: Drink plenty of fluids in order to avoid dehydration. Drink electrolyte-rich drinks as well. Once you are ready for solid foods, Introduce bland foods such as bread, whole grains, and vegetables. Do not ingest dairy, alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods. Antibiotics will not work because of its viral nature.
Prevention: In order to prevent contracting the stomach bug, always keep your hands clean. This is especially true if you have been around a sick person. There are also vaccines that can help you from catching it.
In the event that you do get the bug, just stay at home so that other people will not get ill.
What it is: Food poisoning is ingesting food that may have been contaminated by infectious organisms such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites. People typically get this from raw, undercooked, or unclean food.
Symptoms: Getting food poisoning is way more common than getting a bug. Expect to see symptoms 2 to 6 hours after eating food that has been contaminated. The symptoms may include one or more of the following: muscle aches, fever, eye swelling, headache, diarrhea, general malaise, fatigue, sweating, thirst, and difficulty breathing.
Typically, you will not be experiencing these symptoms for longer than two days.
Treating: Especially if you are undergoing persistent diarrhea, keep yourself hydrated. Rest well and ask your physician at UrgentMed what course of action to take.
Prevention: In order to keep yourself from experiencing food poisoning, always keep your food and equipment clean. Cook your meats and other food fully. Immediately refrigerate perishable foods, and no longer eat those that may already be rotten.
The symptoms of stomach bug and food poisoning may be identical. However, it is important to tell what you have in order for you to be able to treat your sickness properly.
If you start experiencing symptoms for long amounts of time, or more intensely, consult your UrgentMed doctor immediately.