Starting with Thanksgiving and going through New Year’s Day, it’s the time of year for family dinners, parties, and other gatherings where food is served. But the merriment can turn to misery if the food makes you sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 48 million people a year get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
“While most healthy people who become sick with a foodborne illness, typically called food poisoning, will get better without seeing a doctor, others can experience severe illnesses,” said Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “By taking a few simple precautions, you can help protect yourself and those around you from an unhappy holiday.”
Typical symptoms of foodborne illness include vomiting, diarrhea, and flu-like symptoms, which can start anywhere from hours to days after consuming contaminated food or drinks. Symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Those at risk of more severe and even life-threatening foodborne illness include older adults, infants, young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.
Fortunately, there is a simple recipe that can help you stay healthy.
Keep everything in the kitchen clean, including your hands
Separate raw meats from other foods
Cook and keep food at the right temperature
Refrigerate food promptly
A good rule of thumb is, make sure hot foods are hot (above 140°F) and cold foods are cold (below 40°F). Don’t eat food that has been sitting out for more than two hours if the food is not being kept hot or cold. More information on Food Safety During the holidays can be found on the IDPH website.