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    Fourth of July: Tips to Prevent Foodborne Illness

    Foodborne Illness
    • Published
    • 2 July 2021
    • Category
    • General

    Over the July 4th weekend there will be more opportunities to celebrate by eating outdoors, having potlucks and buying food from street vendors than there were last year during COVID-19 shutdowns.

    We want to give you a few foodborne illness prevention and care reminders so you can enjoy the holiday without fireworks in the belly.

    Foodborne illness prevention involves proper food storage, preparation, presentation and clean-up. Here are some tips:

    1. Frequently wash surfaces and hands with warm water and soap.
    2. Separate raw meats and fish from other ingredients while prepping.
    3. Transfer foods from prep surfaces/platters to clean serving dishes.
    4. Store cold foods at 40°F or lower and hot foods at 140°F or higher.
    5. Cook food at recommended temperatures; use a thermometer.
    6. When transporting, carry food in insulated coolers or warmers.
    7. Immediately refrigerate leftovers in sealed containers.
    8. Discard food left out in the “danger zone” (40°F-140°F) after two hours.
    9. Don’t prepare food for others if you or a family member are ill.
    10. Don’t share utensils with others or taste-test with your fingers.

    A July 4th menu that emphasizes fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables, is nutritious and refreshing, especially on hot, humid days. Fresh produce should be washed in clean, running water before eating, cutting or cooking. It’s better for your health to avoid processed foods that are high in salt and/or sugar, and if you consume alcohol, to do so in moderation.

    Foodborne Illness

    If you overeat or consume foods that you aren’t used to eating and are hard to digest, you may experience discomfort. If you eat something that contains pathogens (bacteria, viruses or parasites) you may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever and chills. These symptoms usually resolve on their own.

    Medical care is recommended if you have:

    • Fever higher than 101.5°F
    • Blood in stool
    • Prolonged vomiting
    • Severe dehydration
    • Diarrhea that lasts more than three days

    Diarrhea or vomiting can cause your body to lose vital fluids and salts (electrolytes) that need to be replaced. Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, decrease in urination or dark urine, dry mouth and throat, and feeling lighted-headed or dizzy. You can avoid dehydration by taking sips of water throughout the day and replenishing lost electrolytes with a sports drink. (For more tips related to dehydration and heat stress prevention, refer to this blog post.)

    To help relieve diarrhea, it’s helpful to rest and replenish lost fluids and electrolytes with an oral rehydration solution. Sports drinks are recommended as a heat stress prevention measure but are not considered adequate for the treatment of diarrheal illness. Preparations of bismuth subsalicylate

    may help reduce the duration and severity of simple diarrhea. After recovering from a foodborne illness, it is advisable to gradually reintroduce foods that are relatively bland and easy to eat, such as soups and smoothies.

    Giving some added weight to the adage, “You are what you eat,” rather than gaining weight by not eating safely and well, will pay off over time.

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