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.