What You Need to Know to Avoid Food Poisoning This Summer

Tips to avoid foodborne illness and shares the story of one Salmonella survivor.
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Backyard barbecues, coolers packed for picnics, al fresco dining and hot summer days are all the ingredients for a bad case of food poisoning if you’re not careful.

Cases of foodborne illness peak during the summer months, according to the USDA. But taking a few precautions can help you avoid food poisoning, say experts featured on BeSmartBeWell.com/Food-Safety in a series of videos produced by the health and wellness website. Learn more about summertime risks and get tips to stay safe this summer—and all year long.

Summer = Salmonella risk
One of the biggest food safety risks during summer is Salmonella infection. Salmonellais a bacteria that may be found in raw and undercooked meats, poultry and eggs. It may also contaminate other foods, such as fruits and vegetables. It is the second most common source of food poisoning and the leading cause of hospitalization due to foodborne illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Salmonella illness is more common in summer because the bacteria thrive in warm temperatures. People who are infected by Salmonella may develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Most recover without treatment within a week; but some, like Arlene, become so sick they require hospitalization. “I thought, ‘I just have an upset stomach.’ The following morning we had to call an ambulance to get me to the hospital. I was there about seven days,” she says in a video on the BeSmartBeWell website.

Arlene still suffers from complications from her Salmonella illnessTo reduce your risk, here are some of the important tips offered by experts on the website.

  • >>Make sure foods are cooked thoroughly.
  • >>Don’t let food sit out for more than two hours; make it one hour if the temperature is 90°F or higher.
  • >>Keep perishable items in a cooler or insulated bag.

And if your food seems undercooked or not right, don’t eat it. “If the hot food’s not hot enough, cold food’s not cold enough, if you don’t feel good with it, don’t eat it!” Arlene says in the video.

Get more food safety tips, recommended cooking temperatures, and more do’s and don’ts with these Habits to Have from BeSmartBeWell.com.