Great Fourth of July celebrations start with cookouts or picnics before the evening fireworks. Yet foodborne illnesses
increase during summer. The hot weather can help harmful bacteria multiply on food, and the people who eat it can get sick. And when the meat comes off the grill, folks often let it sit out while they visit and munch. There’s no refrigerator at the park.
To eat safely when you’re celebrating the holiday with a cookout or picnic, follow these tips:
1) Two- hour rule: One hour, if the
temperature outside is above 90
temperature outside is above 90. Meats and poultry shouldn’t be left out of the cooler (or refrigerator, if your cookout is on the deck) any longer.
2) Clean, separate dishes: Use a clean platter (or cutting board or whatever) for your cooked food — never the same on that held the raw meat or poultry. The same rule goes for your utensils. And wrap the raw stuff securely, so its juice doesn’t spill into your cooler while you’re going to the barbecue.
3) Cook well: The heat from cooking kills those sick-making bacteria. But only if there’s enough of it. So make sure you cook your food thoroughly. A food thermometer with safe-temperature markings can keep your grillers safe.
Symptoms of food related illness.
So, your stomach hurts after the big holiday. How do you know if you’ve overeaten or may have a food-related illness?
“Symptoms for food related illness can be severe and appear as early as one hour to as long as 24 hours,” says Dr. Lauri Harsh, Eastern Iowa Gastroenterology, Davenport. “Especially for foods such as eggs and chicken, you can begin to feel sick within hours of eating.”
Dr. Harsh says to look for these symptoms:
- Abdominal Cramps
- Fever and Chills (temp. >100.4 F)
- Nausea and vomiting
When to see a doctor?
“If your diarrhea symptoms persist more than three days, call your physician,” advises Dr. Harsh. “If you are having significant diarrhea along with nausea and vomiting to the point where you cannot keep fluids down, you are certainly at risk for dehydration. Seek the advice of your physician if these extreme symptoms last longer than 24 hours. If you are elderly or a child of young age, I would not wait 24 hours. Dehydration can affect these age groups faster. Also if rectal bleeding is associated with any of the diarrhea, seek medical attention immediately.”