According to the CDC, around 48 million people get food poisoning in the USA every single year. This is equivalent to 1 in 6 Americans. A particular part of the year when you are most at risk of food poisoning in the summer. During which food deteriorates faster thus allowing for a more hospitable environment for microorganisms that will ultimately make you ill. In this article, we will cover the topic of food poisoning during the summer in great detail.
What Is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning is an informal term used to describe diseases that are spread through the consumption of contaminated food.
Officially it is known as foodborne illness, and it is a broad category made up of a lot of different illnesses. Like all diseases, it is due to microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses. In small numbers, such microorganisms will not make you ill. However, if your food is not refrigerated or is contaminated this will exponentially increase the number of harmful pathogens that can harm you.
Increased Risk of Food Poisoning In Summer
During the summer months where you live, it will be on average much warmer than it generally will be. This increased temperature will increase and expedite the rate of decay in the food which will help to attract more pathogens.
Furthermore warm and humid climates are much more attractive for microorganisms and ensure that a wider proportion of them are able to survive.
This is why refrigerators are used, as most microorganisms are not able to cope at such low temperatures. Unfortunately during the summer, we will be spending more time outside, going on picnics and beaches where most individuals will not use portable fridges.
In order to minimize the chances of food poisoning, you have to make long-term planning. For example, you are going to be engaging in a fun family picnic in three days you should make sure to prepare your food max a day before. Even if food is in a fridge it will start to decay, the fresher the food the better. Moreover, if you are going to freeze food, make sure to defrost it only once as this is another major cause of food poisoning.
Finally, mini or portable fridges are a lifesaver in this situation. If you are going to be traveling for hours, then you have to make sure that your food is kept in a cool dark place.
Higher Risk Food
It is also important to note that certain foods are more susceptible to causing food poisoning than others. The foods that are most likely to make you fall ill are all animal products. You have to keep watch on milk-derived products such as cheese, milkshakes, and certain pastries. In addition, products containing eggs, fish, and other meats are worth keeping a diligent eye on.
Signs of Food Poisoning
Food poisoning is a serious health condition that the early is identified the better as this will ensure a speedier as well as a more painless recovery. Below we will list some of the most common signs of food poisoning that you should be on the lookout for.
If you have developed multiple of these symptoms you should make sure to buy reputable medication from a licensed online drugstore that has a large number of reliable positive reviews.
- Vomiting, one of the most obvious symptoms of food poisoning is vomiting. Vomiting is a natural reaction that happens when your body is trying to get rid of the invasive microorganisms attacking it.
- Upset Stomach, likely the first sign of food poisoning that you will experience is an upset stomach. This can come in a variety of ways such as sharp piercing pains or more mellow but present aches in your body.
- Diarrhea, similar to vomiting, diarrhea is another way that your body will try to flush out whatever is making you ill. When you have diarrhea it is either because you are ill or because you have an intolerance to a certain type of food such a dairy. Therefore it is important to look out for other symptoms too.
- Fever, the more serious type of food poisoning will result in the development of a fever. A fever will include a high temperature, loss of appetite, and cold-like symptoms.
- Tiredness, if you have developed food poisoning, your body will be ardently working to make you well again. This inadvertently uses up a lot of energy which will, in turn, make you feel very tired even if you are getting a healthy amount of sleep.
Food Poisoning Is Not Trivial Matter
Food poisoning has to be taken seriously, every year it is estimated that 3,000 people die from food poisoning every single year on average.
This is on top of the people that may develop long-term disabilities after suffering from food poisoning. The most susceptible people to food poisoning are those already in poor health such as the elderly, disabled, and those that are already ill. Furthermore, children are also at increased risk from food poisoning. You are also welcome to watch the Youtube video that we have included below about the demographics most at risk.
BBQs are a popular summer pastime for many of us, it is a great opportunity to catch up with friends and family.
A common risk of BBQs and cooking in high quantities, in particular, is that the outside may be well done or even charred. Yet, the inside can be undercooked, thus there will still be hazardous microorganisms.
In order to avoid this, you should use a thermometer, with digital thermometers being much more accurate in order to accurately verify that the meat is safe for each. It is also important to keep in mind that different meats are safe at different temperatures.
Another major cause for food poisoning is using an old worn down chopping board for every single food group such as meat, fish, and fresh produce for example. For best practice, you should use different chopping boards for different food types. Sets of different colored chopping boards are the best for this and are pretty affordable.
For example, the red chopping board is universally used for red meat and poultry while the green chopping board is used for vegetables and fruit.
At the very least if you are not currently able to get extra cutting boards you should wash them so that you do not contaminate them. An example of this could be when you are cutting raw meat, you should wash your chopping board before you start cutting your salad on there.
Another major reason for food poisoning in the summer is the lack of personal hygiene by those serving and more importantly cooking the food.
You should wash your hands every time before cooking and also if you have touched something unhygienic such as a bin or a pet.
It is also recommended that you pull up your sleeves and if you have long hair tie it back tightly. To add to this, make sure that your cooking area is properly ventilated and if possible that you turn on a cooling fan or AC unit as you do not want to be sweating into the food that you are preparing.
Don’t Take Risk
A very large part of food poisoning cases can be avoided by simply trusting your gut feeling. If something does not look right, smell and taste bad it is better that you throw it away. We have evolved to be able to sense food sources that have gone off. Therefore even if this method is not 100% accurate it will still dramatically reduce the chances of you and your loved ones falling ill from food poisoning in the summer.