Food for Thought on Foodborne Illness

Typical Florida weather usually means outdoor activities such as picnics, cookouts, road trips, and camping that require you to prepare and store food outside of the kitchen. These feed your appetite for fun and adventure, but they also increase your risk of foodborne illness, which is widely known as food poisoning. The heat can cause bacteria in the environment to flourish, along with the lack of proper refrigeration and safe cooking facilities which means there are plenty of opportunities for food to become contaminated. Consuming this food can be dangerous and even deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 48 million Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die due to food poisoning symptoms every year. Food poisoning can strike anyone at any time, yet most frequently affects children, older adults, and individuals with weaker immune systems. And your best defense is awareness, so MD Now Urgent Care Centers have healthy advice on protecting your health, detecting the symptoms, and getting proper food poisoning treatment so you can keep your worries at bay when at your next barbecue.

Better Safe Than Sick

To help you stay healthy while enjoying food-filled festivities, the USDA has offered the following food safety tips:

  • Wash your hands well before handling food
  • When eating away from home, bring bottled water to clean hands and cooking surfaces during food preparation
  • Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat separate from ready-to-eat food and washing all cooking surfaces used for raw meat before reusing for cooked food
  • Always cook food to proper temperatures to kill the harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness
  • Refrigerate food promptly and properly by keeping cold perishable food in an ice-filled, insulated cooler and refrigerating any leftover foods that will not be eaten within two hours
  • If possible, pack canned beverages in one cooler and perishable food in another cooler since beverage coolers are opened more frequently

Spot the Signs of Food Poisoning

There are more than 250 different foodborne illnesses that have been reported and the symptoms of food poisoning differ based on the type of bacteria consumed. For instance, salmonella symptoms include fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps, but this type of bacteria can also lead to life-threatening infections in people with weakened immune systems. And e. coli symptoms can range from harmless to hazardous and include diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, and pneumonia. You’ll notice that some food poisoning symptoms are similar to those of a stomach bug, but show up within hours of eating contaminated food. If you experience severe symptoms that last for hours or days and think they’re related to foodborne illness, it is a good idea to seek a medical opinion so you can get the food poisoning treatment you may need. Since hospitals can leave you with long waits and large bills, your best bet is to go to your nearest MD Now location for a correct and convenient diagnosis.

Know Where to Go for a Diagnosis and Treatment

MD Now can quickly diagnose whether your food poisoning symptoms are actually signs of foodborne illness. The only way to know whether you need treatment and which type is right is to get a medical evaluation. Depending on your condition, the physician may perform a laboratory or diagnostic test that could help to identify the cause of your symptoms and can provide antibiotics, if required. If you are suffering from food poisoning, you will receive a treatment plan based on the symptoms and their severity. Treatments vary, but many involve preventing dehydration that often occurs due to vomiting and diarrhea. For patients with dehydration, MD Now may provide an IV fluid infusion designed to replace the lost fluids and electrolytes that the body needs to function. MD Now is proud to offer this prompt and proper care that can possibly save your life.