Warm summer months mean that many families are spending a lot more time outdoors to enjoy the great weather and spend time with friends. Of course, summer is also the season of barbecues and other fun, food-centric celebrations. As summer heats up across Georgia, it’s important to stay focused on how you can keep yourself and your family safe during picnics, cookouts and barbecues.
Does Summer Put You at a Greater Risk for Food Poisoning?
There’s nothing better than enjoying a warm evening outside with your friends and family. Unfortunately, the warmer summer months can also mean an increased risk for food poisoning, especially at barbecues and other outdoors events. As temperatures become hotter, foods left out on countertops or tables can become contaminated with bacteria.
Of course, eating contaminated foods can lead to food poisoning. This unpleasant illness is especially bad for children and the elderly, who can develop potentially fatal cases of food poisoning. It’s best to adopt safe food-handling practices in order to prevent this nasty illness and enjoy the best of summer eating without worry.
Ten Easy Ways to Prevent Food Poisoning
Food poisoning is an incredibly bothersome, uncomfortable illness. Thankfully, many cases of food poisoning can be prevented by adopting good food-handling practices. Paying close attention to how you defrost, prepare, cook and serve foods during the summer can mean the difference between enjoying the season and spending it cooped up in bed.
Remember that washing your hands is the first step to ensuring that you’re handling food safely. In addition to washing your hands, use these other tips to keep your family safe from food poisoning:
- Wash all surfaces and cutting boards where you’re handling food.
- Keep raw and cooked foods separate from one another.
- Store and handle raw meats on their own, away from countertops and cutting boards used for vegetables, fruits and cheeses.
- Wash all dishcloths and towels on a regular basis in hot, soapy water. Adding bleach can also help to kill bacteria.
- Store all meats on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator and keep them covered.
- Make sure that all food is cooked thoroughly. Check internal temperatures for meats with a meat thermometer.
- Defrost food quickly using the microwave, refrigerator or a cold-water bath.
- Freeze or refrigerate all leftovers as soon as possible.
- Use ice baths or warming trays if foods must sit outdoors for more than an hour during the summer.
- Throw out foods if you don’t know how long they’ve been sitting out or if they have taken on strange odors.
If you suspect that you’re suffering from food poisoning, it’s important that you seek immediate medical care. The friendly, highly trained professionals at AppleCare clinics throughout Georgia are here to help in the event of any food-borne illness. For more information on the treatment of these and other illnesses, visit us online.