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Reduce the Risk of Holiday Hazards

Reduce the Risk of Holiday Hazards

It’s the most wonderful time of year again! Time to gather with your family and friends and share food, laughs, and precious memories that will hopefully last a lifetime. Though the holidays tend to be a beautiful and joyous time, they also present many hazards. In this post, we will discuss some of the most common holiday hazards and share ways to reduce your and your family’s risk of illness and injury.

 

Burns in the Kitchen

Cooking fires tend to be the most prevalent hazard during the holidays. With cooking fires, the chef (and chef’s little helpers) are at risk of burning themselves or even causing their home to catch fire. Experts say an average of 1,700 cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day each year. This number is significantly higher than the normal average on other days of the year.

 

Here are some tips on how to avoid burns in the kitchen:

  • Never leave your stove unattended while cooking.
  • Always keep the cooking handle away from the walkway or aisle of the kitchen. All handles should be pointed towards the side or back of the stove.
  • Always keep flammable materials away from the stove.
  • Create rules to keep your kids safe. Consider creating a no-play zone in the kitchen so kids don’t get too close to cooking surfaces. This will prevent distractions and potential accidents.

 

Food Poisoning

So many delicious foods that we routinely enjoy over Thanksgiving and Christmas can also be culprits for food poisoning. Food poisoning will put a damper on any celebration, but there are many steps you can take to keep yourself and your guests safe.

Ways to help prevent food poisoning include:

  • Ensure your produce is well-washed prior to cooking.
  • Do not wash meat. While washing meat used to be recommended to remove harmful bacteria, recent studies have shown that doing so is actually more likely to spread the germs you are trying to avoid.
  • Sterilize cooking utensils and surfaces before and after use. This includes the counters your food is prepared on as well as the most important utensils of all – your hands.
  • Know what temperature . Undercooked meat is a source of many great discomforts after eating. Make sure to invest in a thermometer and check the temperature of your meat before declaring that it is done. If you are unsure of the correct temperature, this should be indicated on the meat’s packaging.

 

Slips and falls on ice/snow

The CDC has reported that more than 800,000 people are hospitalized every year due winter slips and falls. It is important to prevent any accidents due to the outside environment as much as possible – especially since trips to the emergency room can be expensive.

  • If you have a driveway or stairs outside of your home, utilize salt (sodium chloride) to help melt away any possible ice buildup. This is a good preventive measure to keep your walkway dry and not slippery.
  • Wear shoes that have a good grip. This may include rubber soles. However, any shoes with slip-resistant soles are a good choice.
  • Scan the area in front of you as you walk and take small steps.
  • Keep your hands free whenever possible and be aware of your surroundings. If you do start to slip, it’s important that you have the use of your hands to find something to grab on to.
  • If you do fall, try to avoid using your arms to catch yourself whenever possible. Land on your thigh or seat and roll out of the fall. These areas of your body are more load-bearing and are less likely to break under your weight in comparison to your arms.

 

Fire Hazards: Candles, Overloaded Electrical Circuits

Home fires happen incredibly frequently in this country, especially during the cooler fall and winter months. During winter holidays, the odds of a house fire increase drastically. Fires can occur from multiple sources, but there are many to prevent them.

  • Invest in a smoke detector for every room of your house, and always make sure your smoke detectors are working correctly. Test them monthly, and replace the battery annually.
  • Try to avoid using candles around your home. Candles are a common source for house fires and can easily be forgotten when lit. Flame-free (battery-operated) candles are a great alternative.
  • If your home needs heat, try not to use your oven or stove appliances to heat your home.
  • Turn off all portable heaters when leaving the room/the house or going to sleep.
  • If you have strand lights on your home or Christmas tree, be sure not to plug too many strands into a single outlet. Purchase a power strip with a surge protector so that it shuts power off if the circuit is overloaded.
  • Check all wires for powered decorations to ensure that they are not fraying or damaged. Damaged electrical wires are a fire hazard and should be discarded.

 

Illness (Colds, Flu, COVID)

Last but definitely not least, illnesses such as the cold, flu, and COVID are hazards that are rampant during the holiday season. On average, about 10% of the United States population becomes sick with the flu every holiday season. Do your part these upcoming months to best prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.  Here are some ways you can take action to help reduce your risk.

  • Wash your hands whenever you get the chance: The spread of germs is well-prevented with the use of soap and water. Living in colder environments, this can be rough on your skin, so make sure to have some lotion nearby to moisturize your hands after cleansing them thoroughly.
  • Get vaccinated: Being vaccinated against influenza as well as COVID is the best method for the prevention of illness. Vaccinations train the body’s immune system to better understand how to fight the real virus once presented.
  • Stay Active: Research has shown that physical activity helps with immunity to common respiratory illness. Our immune system works very closely with our circulatory system, and movement helps the circulatory system work effectively. Find an indoor track or gym that can help you stay moving this fall and winter!
  • Eat Healthy: Foods that contain vitamin C and vitamin E help keep your immune system strong. Try to incorporate fruits and vegetables such berries, citrus fruits, melons, bell peppers and broccoli into your diet. Vitamin D is also a great supplement to a healthy immune system.

 

Remember the holidays are a wonderful time, however we want to stay as safe as possible. Make sure your home is ready for any potential hazards inside and out. We hope you and your family have a very safe start to your holiday season!

Tips to Have a Safe Halloween

Tips to Have a Safe Halloween

Halloween is such a fun holiday for the entire family! Dressing up as your favorite or most  creative character while also having an excuse to eat as much candy as you want should always count as a fun time. However, it is crucial to know how to stay safe while still having fun. In this article, we will give tips on how to have the safest Halloween possible. 

 

Costume Safety

Dressing up is always a fun part of Halloween for kids and adults alike. However, wearing masks, hoods, or other face coverings can pose a risk for trips, falls, and other accidents. And dark costumes pose a risk of others not seeing your child. Here are some ways to ensure your child can see and be seen.

 

Visibility:

Masks

Masks are good for hiding secret identities but also very good at decreasing sight. Before leaving your house for trick-or-treating, have your chld practice walking around a familiar environment (like your home) with your mask on. Things to be aware of: 

  • Are the eye openings big enough? Make sure your child is able to see clearly out of the eye openings.
  • Did your child trip on any stairs or run into any wall corners? Make sure they are comfortable with how the mask changes peripheral vision. Understand how it may change the child’s awareness of their surroundings. 

 

Being Visible To Others 

trick-or-treating may involve your family being out at night. Nighttime can reduce others’ visibility of you and your child and cause unfortunate accidents. If you plan to walk in streets or on the sidewalks of some busy neighborhoods you should consider the following for your safety. 

  • Make sure costumes are well-lit. Thiscould mean creatively placing reflective strips or wearing glow sticks as part of your outfit.
  • Try to include bright colors in your costume outfit.  Brighter colors increase your visibility.

 

Trick or Treating Safety

trick-or-treating is one time when we actively encourage our children not only to interact with strangers, but also to take candy from them. It can be fun, but we must remind our kids that we are interacting with people we do not know well. Here are a few things to remember that will keep your kids safe while having fun:

 

  1. Map A Route Before You Go Out! Plan with your child your neighborhood route so that everyone understands where they are going and when they should be back at the meeting point/home. Even if you are accompanying your child, this also helps keep everyone safe if someone should get lost or separated from your group. 
  2. Do Not Ride If You Don’t Know The Guide! Accepting car rides from strangers is always a concerning decision. This is not safe. Make sure your child know to stay with their buddy, group of friends, or family for the entire duration of your trick-or-treat route.
  3. Always Have Doubts About Entering A House! Tell your kids to stay on the neighbor’s doorstep or porch when trick-or-treating. Never accept an invitation into a home, whether it is a house or an apartment, without your permission. Instruct your child to politely reply that their parents do not allow them to go into strangers’ homes. If they continue to ask the child to come inside, simply leave and move to the next house with goodies.
  4. Check The Treat Before You Eat. Do not allow your child to eat candy that has been opened or homemade before you can inspect it. Sometimes homemade treats can have things you are allergic to or other harmful ingredients. 

 

 

Halloween is a fun holiday, and we want your family to stay safe while having fun. Follow these tips and you will be good to go! Happy Trick-or-Treating! 

Know the Symptoms of Flu

Know the Symptoms of Flu

Fall is officially here, and with Halloween at the end of the month, the holiday season is kicking off. Along with the holidays, there’s an increase in family gatherings, school parties, and other festivities. These gatherings increase our chances of becoming ill, especially with easily-spread respiratory illnesses like influenza, commonly known as the flu. In this article, we will explain the signs and symptoms of the flu, the difference between the flu and other common respiratory illnesses (cold & covid), and six different ways you can treat yourself at home.

The flu is caused by the influenza virus. According to the CDC, this virus tends to affect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Symptoms of the flu include:

 

  • Muscle & Body Aches**
  • Fever**
  • Cough
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Abnormal Fatigue
  • Sore Throat

(** = key distinguishing feature vs. common cold)

 

These symptoms differ from the average cold (caused by rhinovirus) primarily through the presence of fever. If you or your loved one is suffering from a fever, this is an indication of a possible influenza infection. Another key difference is muscle & body aches. With the average cold, body aches are much less likely to occur – however they are a distinguishing feature of the influenza virus infection.

Due to the overlap in symptoms, it is very important to make sure that your influenza is not actually COVID-19. Making this distinction ensures that you get the proper care and treatment for your symptoms. Similarities between the flu and COVID-19 are indicated in the previously stated symptom list above. In addition to these, headaches, vomiting, and diarrhea can also occur with both.

 

Differences Between The flu and COVID

The Flu COVID
Mild change in taste or loss of smell primarily due to nasal congestion Very noticeable and significant loss in taste and smell, more frequent in COVID-19 than the flu
Symptoms appear within 1-4 days after infection Symptoms can appear either 2 days after infection or up to 14 days after infection

Despite the differences between the flu and COVID, it is imperative that you continue to test yourself and those around you for COVID-19 this fall if any flu-like symptoms occur or you are exposed.

 

Treatments

Viruses can not be cured, but their symptoms can be treated. A very effective treatment option for the flu are antiviral medications. Antiviral medications are not like antibiotics; they are highly specific to the virus they are attacking. The antiviral medication you take for the flu cannot be taken for COVID-19  and vice versa. These medications also work best when they are taken shortly after symptoms begin – typically within two days. Understand that antivirals are simply an option for influenza treatment and if you choose to utilize them, they are only a second line of defense against the flu. The recommended antiviral drugs and their potential side effects can be found on trusted public health websites such as cdc.gov.

The most effective and first line defense against the flu is vaccination. The flu vaccine is the best preventive measure against the seasonal flu. It can also protect you from the flu’s various complications.

 

Home Treatment Options

According to the CDC, if you have symptoms you should stay at home, get plenty of rest, and avoid contact with other people until your symptoms resolve. Influenza is a very contagious respiratory virus, typically spreading through close contact. While isolating, it is important that you remain hydrated and get plenty of rest. The body heals well with rest and sleep.

 

When to seek help

There are many that are at high risk of complications if infected with the influenza virus. This includes young children, people over the age of 65, pregnant people and those with pre existing pulmonary conditions.

If any of these susceptible groups experience these symptoms, they should go to the emergency room immediately:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Fever above 104 degrees
  • Dehydration (no urine for more than eight hours)
  • Chest Pain
  • Seizures

The seasonal flu is a constant reminder that preventive care is best. Make sure to get your influenza vaccine for this holiday season to protect both you and your loved ones.

Treating Common Bugs and Germs in Kids

Treating Common Bugs and Germs in Kids

The first day of school is right around the corner, and kids from different homes will once again congregate indoors in classrooms. This can be concerning for patents because of how quickly germs can spread between children. Common colds are very infectious because the viruses that cause them are respiratory, meaning they’re spread through the air and can infect anyone close by.  In this article, we will share how you can protect your children from common bugs, like those that cause the common cold, and also give signs of when you should contact a health professional for help.

 

The Common Cold/ Flu

The common cold is caused by viruses, typically rhinovirus. The flu is caused by the influenza virus. Both are transmitted via exhaled droplets in the air. Though colds and flu are most prevalent in autumn and winter, people can be infected any time of the year.

 

Signs & Symptoms of Cold and Flu:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Fever, body aches, and chills are specifically associated with the flu, in addition to the symptoms above.

 

Treatment

A cold can not be cured because it is caused by a virus. Unfortunately, with viral infections, you can only control the extent of the symptoms and try to help the body recover smoothly.  The recovery period is typically about one week. If the patient has a weakened immune system or asthma, recovery may take longer. Rest, lots of fluids and anti-inflammatory medications can help significantly with the recovery period.

 

When To Seek Help

If the symptoms last for more than 10 days, this is a sign that you or your child should see a physician. Professional care is especially needed if the symptoms have worsened over the normal period of 7-10 days.

 

Protect Your Child and Yourself

You can reduce your risk of being infected with either a cold or influenza by:

  • Getting yourself and your family vaccinated against influenza every fall
  • Practicing social distancing when you or those around you are experiencing symptoms or have been infected
  • Washing your hands often
  • Avoiding touching your mouth, eyes, and nose unless you have just washed your hands. It is also important to wash your hands after eating, blowing your nose, or touching your mouth – especially if you are sick.

 

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is another viral infection caused by an Enterovirus. It is typically spread through direct contact with saliva, mucus or feces. However, it can also be spread through skin-to-skin contact as well as respiratory droplets. This virus is highly contagious and is usually mostly seen amongst 4-5 year old (preschool and kindergarten-aged) children, but parents can also become infected.

 

Signs & Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Mouth sores
  • Skin rash
  • Other minor symptoms include a sore throat, feeling unwell, and irritability

 

Treatment

Like the cold and flu, HFMD can not be cured because it is caused by a virus. However, the extent of symptoms can be controlled with anti-inflammatory medication, such as Tylenol, ro reduce fever and pain, along with working to prevent dehydration. This may be tough because of the painful mouth sores and sore throat but try to keep your child hydrated with lots of fluids. Aspirin should not be given to children for pain relief.

When To Seek Help

If the symptoms last with no improvement for more than 10 days, you should consult with a healthcare provider. If your child is less than 12 months old and is experiencing symptoms, a clinician should be consulted immediately.

 

Protect Your Child and Yourself

Infection can be prevented through consistent hand washing. This is especially important after changing diapers, using the bathroom, caring for someone who is sick, or after coughing/sneezing.

Be sure to help your children wash their hands to ensure that the hands are being sanitized for at least 20 seconds. This ensures thorough cleaning of any germs that may be residing on their hands from surfaces or contact with other children.

 

Strep Throat

Unlike the common cold and influenza, strep throat is caused by bacteria, not a virus. The bacteria (called group A streptococcus) live in nasal passages and the throat making it highly contagious. Group A Strep is spread through respiratory droplets emitted via coughs or sneezes. Though being exposed to respiratory droplets is the most common means of infection, you can also become infected by touching the droplets that land on surfaces and then touching your nose or mouth. Infection can also occur by coming in contact with fluids of the sores that were caused by Group A Strep.

 

Signs & Symptoms

  • Sore Throat: Typically the very first symptom. More specifically described as pain with swallowing.
  • Red and swollen tonsils: The tonsils would also have white pustules signifying an infection.
  • Red tiny spots of irritation on the roof of the mouth.
  • Swollen lymph nodes immediately underneath the jawline: This is your body’s way of signaling that it is fighting off an infection.

 

Treatment

Since strep throat is caused by bacteria, antibiotics can be helpful in eliminating the infection from your body. Antibiotics are the quickest and most effective form of treatment and should be used if you or your child are symptomatic.

Antibiotics typically:

  •  Decrease the amount of time that you are sick
  •  Significantly decrease your symptoms
  •  Prevent the spread of the infection to other people

It is important to be aware that an antibiotic will not be effective if your sore throat is caused by a virus. If your antibiotic is not working then consult with your doctor for further evaluation, you may not have strep throat in this case.

 

When To Seek Help

It is important to know for certain that you have strep throat. If painful swallowing has lasted more than five days, a simple test done by the healthcare provider will give you clarity on your or your child’s diagnosis.  The clinician will also be able to prescribe you the proper antibiotics depending on the results of your rapid test.

 

Protect Your Child and Yourself

Strep Throat is not an infection that you can build an immunity to. Therefore there is no vaccine to help protect you or your child from recurrence. However, there are a few things you can do to protect you and your child from contracting the infection.

  1. Decrease your interaction with those who have recently been infected. The infected person should remain in isolation until their fever has resolved or the antibiotic has been taken for at least 24 hours. This decreases the potential for the spread of infection.
  2. Wash your hands often and for approximately 20 seconds each time. This will get rid of any bacteria that may be present on your hands.
  3. Always cover your mouth and nose with either your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

 

Head Lice

Lice are parasitic insects that attach themselves to human hair and ultimately feed on human blood. The most prevalent kind of lice is head lice. Lice can feed on human blood up to 4-5 times a day.

Though many have associated having head lice with poor hygiene, this is not the case. Having lice is not a reflection of a person’s hygiene. Head lice are often shared via close contact. In the case of children, this can happen through hugging, close proximity while sharing toys, head-to-head contact while looking at something together, or even sharing clothing such as hats, hair ties or scarves.

 

Signs & Symptoms

  • Itching of the scalp
  • Small sores on the head due to excessive scratching
  • Difficulty sleeping because of scalp irritation

 

Prevention

Lice tend to thrive by living on unwashed clothing. Therefore, the key to prevention is washing clothes between uses and not sharing clothes (including hats and scarves) with other children.

 

Treatment

  1. Shampoo the hair with a specific shampoo that contains ingredients that are lethal to lice. The keyword to look for is ‘pediculicide’. Keep in mind that after applying this shampoo, the hair should not be washed for up to two days. This allows that treatment to have its full effect.
  2. Remove any remaining eggs that may have been attached to the hair shafts. This is typically done via a fine-toothed comb.
  3. Vacuum and thoroughly clean any surface in your home where the lice could have landed throughout the day. Wash all bedsheets and pillowcases and any soft toys your child sleeps with or is otherwise in close contact with. Some people even shampoo their carpets.
  4. After these prior three steps, your child should be lice-free again in less than five days.

 

Conclusion

Remember, with this upcoming school year, the best way to keep your kids safe and healthy is through preventive measures. This includes washing hands, maintaining distance from those who are sick, and practicing good personal hygiene. Protect yourselves and others by making sure your child is safe and healthy. We hope this was informative and helpful and wish your families a safe start to the school year!

Safe Fun in the Sun

Safe Fun in the Sun

The sun is an invaluable resource for many physical, emotional, and mental health needs. Sun exposure is scientifically proven to improve mood by encouraging serotonin release in the brain and subsequently helping depression symptoms. The sun also helps our skin produce Vitamin D, which plays a very key role in bone health. However, like most things in life, too much of a good thing can ultimately cause harm. This summer we want you and your family to be safe while also benefiting from your time in the sun. First, let’s highlight some of the dangers of over-exposure to the sun.

 

Beware! Too much heat is not a healthy treat

Some of the common ill effects of excessive sun exposure include:

  • Sunburn
  • Dehydration
  • Heat Stroke/Heat Exhaustion

 

Sunburn

Sunburn is typically caused by staying out in the sun for too long without protection (sunscreen and/or clothing with UV protection). Some sun rays, known as UVA and UVB rays, damage skin cells. This can lower the body’s ability to fight illness. Some signs of damaged skin cells (sunburn) include redness of the skin, skin inflammation, and painful skin tenderness. Repeated incidents of sunburn have been associated with an increased risk of various cancers, including but not limited to melanoma, basal cell, and squamous cell carcinoma.

 

Protect Yourself Against Sunburn

  • Sunscreen: Apply sunscreen with a minimum strength of SPF 30. This SPF level protects your skin from the penetration of UVA and UVB rays while you are having fun in the sun.
  • Expose in Doses: Maybe take breaks from your sun time. Every 30 minutes – 1 hour find some shade or go indoors to check in with your skin. Re-apply sunscreen at least every 90 minutes or after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Accessorize: Wear a hat that has a brim to protect your face, ears, and parts of your neck for adequate protection from sun rays. Wear clothing that has a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating of 30 or above. Wearing UPF clothing is essentially the same as wearing sunscreen – but you don’t have to worry about reapplying! Though sunglasses do not protect your skin, it is also a good idea to wear sunglasses in bright sunshine.

 

Treatment for a sunburn

  • Cool baths to help relieve pain.
  • Applying an ice pack/cold compress to irritated areas may help reduce inflammation.
  • Aloe application to help soothe inflammation.
  • Aspirin and Ibuprofen can help with inflammation and skin tenderness.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!!

 

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs from not adequately replenishing the body’s reserve of water. When external temperatures rise the body attempts to cool itself by sweating. This reaction results in a decrease in water inside the body. If this supply is not refilled, dehydration occurs. Symptoms of dehydration include weakness, dizziness, dry mouth, and sometimes nausea.

 

Prevent & Treat Dehydration

  • The only way to prevent and treat dehydration is to hydrate! On average, more than 50% of our bodies are made of water. This means that water is vital to our bodily functions. Making sure our insides our hydrated helps every routine bodily process that we need throughout the day.
  • Hydration can be done via water as well as ice, frozen popsicles, or sports drinks that contain electrolytes.

 

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion is the precursor to heat stroke. When the external temperature is high, the body will attempt to cool itself by sweating and then allowing that sweat to evaporate. This process is not successful if the sweat is not able to evaporate due to high humidity or other circumstances. No evaporation of sweat causes the core body temperature to continue to rise. If lost fluids are not being replaced, this exacerbates the issue even more.

 

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness & fatigue
  • Pale & clammy skin
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache

If these symptoms are not resolved, heat stroke can occur. This is much more damaging than heat exhaustion.

 

Protect Yourself Against Heat Exhaustion

  • Light Loose Clothing: This will ensure your body is able to ‘breathe’ and your sweat is able to evaporate from your skin as much as possible.
  • Plan Ahead: Check the forecast and humidity percentage before planning your day. High heat indexes and humidity should be avoided strictly for the safest time in the sun. Typically the hottest points of the day are in the mid-late afternoon.
  • Take Breaks: Be sure to plan your sun time in increments. Take a break in the shade or preferably inside a home or shelter with air conditioning.
  • Accessorize: Wear a hat that has a brim to simulate shade.

 

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • Feeling unwell after 30 minutes of resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water
  • Not sweating even while overheated
  • A fever over 104 degrees
  • Fast breathing/shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness/unresponsive to stimuli

 

Heat stroke can cause damage to the brain, liver, and kidneys. If you or someone you know has symptoms of heat stroke, immediate medical attention is necessary. Call 911 immediately or head to the closest emergency room. 

 

General Signs That You Need Medical Attention For Any Sun-Related Condition

  1. Time: If any of the symptoms mentioned above for each sun exposure condition either lasts for more than one hour or worsens increasingly in even less time, then you should get medical help immediately from an urgent care clinic or emergency room.
  2. Response: If the injured person is having difficulty following directions, is unable to speak, or has become unconscious, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.
  3. Physical Abnormalities: If the person is vomiting or has stopped sweating completely, this is a sign that their heat exhaustion has progressed to heat stroke and you should get emergency medical help to avoid death or permanent disability.

 

We hope you are having a great summer – but if you find yourself having too much fun in the sun, visit us and we can help!

Food Safety

Food Safety

Every day what we choose to eat is very important, mainly because it fuels our bodies. However, what if we told you it was even more important to consider how that fuel is prepared? There are four general food safety rules that are important to follow, especially as we head to family barbecues and beach cookouts. So before you fire up the grill this holiday weekend, be sure to follow these four simple steps.

 

Clean: Any object touching the food should not be an agent of contamination. This includes our hands alongside any plates, cutting boards, utensils, pots or pans!

  • Be sure to always wash your hands thoroughly before starting to prepare your food. Lather and scrub with soap and water before rinsing and wiping your hands dry.
  • If you are chopping any meat or poultry, wash the knife and utensils with soap and hot water before and after use.
  • Countertops and cutting boards can harbor old bacteria if not wiped properly; always remember to clean your surfaces before using them.

 

Separate: Take extra precaution to keep raw foods and cooked foods separated.

  • Raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs have natural bacteria that may cause food poisoning when mixed with vegetables or already-cooked foods. This can cause bacteria from raw foods to transfer where they do not belong.
  • Remember your surfaces! Do not put cooked foods on surfaces where raw foods have been.

 

Cook: Temperature is key! Many harmful bacteria are not killed unless subjected to particular high temperatures.

  • Invest in a food thermometer! To safely cook your food make sure you know the correct temperature it needs to be cooked to. Raw seafood tends to have a lower temperature needed to cook fully than raw beef, pork or chicken.
  • If cooking with a microwave, understand that every microwave is not the same. Check your microwave’s settings to ensure it is operating at the appropriate intensity for the particular food.
  • If your food packaging does not indicate the threshold temperature, check the websites of the FDA or CDC for a list of accurate values.

 

Chill: In general, the colder the temperature, the slower dangerous bacteria can multiply. To preserve your cooked foods, it is important to refrigerate or freeze them. This immobilizes the bacteria, protecting your food from spoiling.

 

What can happen when these general guidelines are not followed?

Foodborne illnesses are as deadly as they are simply uncomfortable. Some common bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses in the United States include, but are not limited to, Salmonella, Norovirus, Listeria and E.Coli. The more well-known reaction to infection is various forms of gastrointestinal discomfort for 24-48 hours or more. However, vulnerable populations (such as children, senior citizens and the immune compromised) are at even greater risk of permanent injury or even death due to a foodborne illness.

 

Though the disease will primarily affect the digestive system, every individual is different. No one is certain of how badly a particular bacteria will affect their wellbeing. This is why it is important to understand the general symptoms of food poisoning and when it is necessary to contact a physician.

 

Common symptoms of food poisoning include:

  • Stomach Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

 

When To Call A Medical Professional

  • Dry Mouth and Dizziness: When dealing with diarrhea and vomiting, a lot of fluid is being eliminated from your body. If you are unable to replenish your liquids through hydration, you may become dangerously dehydrated. This is often experienced through headache, dizziness, dry throat and dry mouth.
  • Bloody Diarrhea: If you see blood in your stool or diarrhea, this could indicate internal bleeding and damage to the lining of the intestines or stomach. This would need immediate evaluation.
  • A Dangerously High Fever: If your temperature is more than 101 degrees, then you should see a physician. The physician will try to either eliminate a possible infection through antibiotics or prevent any further infection or inflammation.

 

We hope that your summer is full of fun, fresh air, and plenty of delicious food. But if you find yourself with food poisoning, we’re here to help!