The holiday season that begins on Thanksgiving and continues through New Year’s means many things to many people. One thing it means to most of us is food.
Meals and appetizers with family and friends help make the holiday season special. But there can be a downside to all that delicious food.
If it isn’t prepared, cooked and stored properly, it can leave everyone with foodborne illness.
Even though the American food supply is among the safest in the world, an estimated 128,000 people each year require a hospital stay because of foodborne illness, resulting in about 3,000 deaths. Overall there are about 48 million cases of food poisoning in the U.S. each year, affecting one in six Americans.
Here are some simple steps to protect yourself and others:
Those most likely to have the serious health concerns from foodborne illness, sometimes called food poisoning, are those younger than 5 or older than 65, as well as pregnant women and those with immune systems weakened by disease, chemotherapy, or dialysis.
Most foodborne illnesses happen suddenly and last for a short time. Symptoms may include cramping, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
We have more food safety tips on our website. And please keep COVID-19 safety in mind as well as you plan holiday gatherings, starting with getting vaccinated and getting a booster dose if you are eligible.
Editor’s note: Jessica Rigler is assistant director overseeing the Division of Public Health Preparedness at the Arizona Department of Health Services. Visit azdhs.gov.
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