As we get closer to celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, it’s important to keep in mind safety precautions you should practice in order to stay healthy. Follow these important tips from the Texas Poison Center Network (TPCN) to assist you in having a poison-free Thanksgiving holiday.
As you prepare your feast, please keep these tips in mind:
- Store and prepare food safely. Food poisoning is usually due to poor food handling practices. Symptoms can include fever, headache, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort and vomiting. Food poisoning usually occurs when bacteria gets on the food, then enters the body and make you sick. Wash hands, dishes, utensils, kitchen equipment and work surfaces before and after handling food. Be particularly careful with knives and cutting boards, washing them thoroughly after each use. Refrigerate or freeze perishable food within 2 hours of shopping or preparing; 1 hour when the temperature is above 90°F.
- Salmonella is a common cause of food poisoning and while it’s normally not fatal, it is widespread. Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping, with onset about 12 to 72 hours after infection; the illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment, but diarrhea and dehydration may be so severe that some people need hospital care. It is typically found in raw meats, poultry, eggs, milk, fish and their bi-products. Salmonella can be destroyed by cooking food thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 140 degrees.
- When frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely. But as soon as it starts to thaw, bacteria that may have been there before freezing can start to grow again if it is not kept at a safe temperature. It’s okay to thaw the turkey in its original plastic for one to two days, but after that, move the turkey to a plastic container, wrap, or foil. Don’t keep it in its original wrapping for more than two days once it has started to thaw.
- Thaw turkey or poultry inside the fridge; do not thaw at room temperature or in water.
- Don’t stuff the turkey in advance and then refrigerate it. The core of the turkey is a perfect place for bacteria to grow. Remove all stuffing before refrigerating leftover meats. Keep the stuffing, gravy or broth in a separate container.
- Be careful around the booze. Adults should always drink responsibly, but in large gatherings, it’s important to be mindful of small children – particularly those who aren’t afraid to pick up discarded cups left behind by adults. Even a small amount of alcohol can poison a child.
- Be wary of choking
hazards. Peanuts, raisins, hard candies, cocktail sausages and other hors
d’oeuvres are tasty additions to any holiday meal, but they can be choking
s for the littlest partiers. Many pediatricians advise that children under the age of one year avoid nuts, because of the risk of allergies. Keep these foods out of the reach of very young children to prevent a choking incident.
If you have any concerns or questions regarding poisonings, please do not hesitate to contact us! Commit this number to memory or simply save it in your phone contacts: 1-800-222-1222. We are here when you need us, 24/7. Happy Thanksgiving!