Erma Bombeck once said, “You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”
Did the potato salad get iffy at your celebration yesterday? Are you paying the price in the bathroom today? Hot weather and outdoor dining can be a recipe for food poisoning, which is defined by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health as a condition caused by ingesting bacteria, parasites or toxins.
Most food poisoning, which manifests as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea within a few hours of eating contaminated food, makes people miserable ---as one victim put it, “first you’re afraid you’re going to die and then after a couple of hours you’re afraid you won’t.” However, according to the Mayo Clinic, unless people become dehydrated, there is rarely a need to seek medical attention. The exceptions to this are cases involving listeria or e.coli. Listeria can negatively affect unborn children and e.coli can damage the lining of tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to kidney failure.
To avoid food poisoning, the Food Safety site from the Department of Health and Human Services encourages people to remember four simple steps: clean , separate , cook and chill).