Avoiding the holiday tummy rumbles

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

One of my earliest childhood memories is Thanksgiving dinner at my maiden aunts' house. After a big meal, everything was left sitting out on the table and covered with a clean bed sheet until time to munch again. Miraculously, we didn't develop any ill effects.

However, I strongly recommend use of that refrigerator in the corner of your kitchen. Bacteria starts to grow on food left sitting out after 20 minutes. While it is fun to have the turkey and stuffing in easy reach, get off the couch and put the leftovers away. Protect yourself and those around your table from the Turkey Day tummy rumbles.

Bacteria are too small to see, but can have a big effect on your body. Your hands are loaded with bacteria from everything you have touched throughout the day. Wash your hands before you start to prepare your food. Soap 'em up and sing 'Happy Birthday' twice while you wash your hands. That takes about 20 seconds. Rinse them thoroughly and dry on a clean paper towel.

Repeat after handling uncooked eggs, raw meat, poultry and seafood, or their juices. Wash hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; after touching garbage, and, of course, after using the bathroom.

Here are some other 'wing' tips:

Wash utensils and cutting boards after each use. Never cut up meat or poultry on a wooden cutting board. The wood cannot be sanitized as well as plastic.

Rinse produce under running water. Don't use soap, detergent, bleach, or commercial produce washes. However, washing raw meat and poultry can actually help bacteria spread, because their juices may splash onto (and contaminate!) your sink and countertops. Keep your vegetables and fruit separated from the raw meat or poultry.

Consider buying a good meat thermometer if you don't have one. The cost is not enormous, and it's a quick way to make sure your food is cooked to the proper temperature. Improperly heated food can lead to a bad outcome.

Happy Holidays from Eureka Springs Hospital.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: