CDC: 1 out of 6 people will contract a foodborne illness this year
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - If you are just packing up the picnic or heading to fireworks with food, there may be a few things to know so you stay healthy.
It is important to separate the myths from the facts so you don't get sick this season.
Tis the season for picnics and also, unfortunately, getting sick.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that roughly one in six of us will get a foodborne illness this year.
Emergency Medicine Specialist Dr. Jmir Cousar says some with symptoms bad enough, recovery can take quite a while.
“It could be pretty severe, can require hospitalization,” said Dr. Cousar.
So first thing to know is this: You don't always get sick right away.
Some viruses such as e-coli which you can get from undercooked meat and raw fruits and vegetables can take up to eight days to hit.
Second thing to know is that food temperatures matter.
While certainly a lot of this is common sense that you keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, emergency experts say there are really a lot of important things that can keep you continuing to enjoy the holiday when it comes to food safety.
While the most common danger zone is temperatures from 40 degrees -140 degrees for bacteria to grow, you can't just touch a food and tell that it's hot or cold enough.
You may get a lot of stomach bugs with certain things being out for long periods of time then that can be transmitted to multiple people.
Third thing to know is it's not the mayonnaise that makes you sick.
There's some thought mayonnaise actually fights off bad bugs because it's high in acid.
The mix of mayo and potatoes, or other salad items, however has the potential to put you at risk for cross contamination.
That means bad bacteria gets passed to you during food preparation or even the hands of someone that prepared it.
Even if you can fight it off, handwashing may be critical to keep someone you love from getting sick.
It’s very important for older individuals as well as the very young.
Finally, while you worry about food, it might be the drinks that could make you sick.
Dr. Cousar says he sees a lot of people in the Emergency Room this time of year from alcohol related health problems.
“It’s hot right? We've had some beautiful weather, and if you are drinking alcohol… alcohol is a diuretic, it can dehydrate you and you may be outdoors for longer period of time, make sure that you are hydrating appropriately,” said Dr. Cousar.
Those are all things that can lead to a healthy picnic season.
According to the USDA, a foodborne illness is the illness most likely to make you sick this year.