Taking stock of your food safety habits

The food supply in the U.S. is far safer than in most countries, but millions of Americans still develop foodborne illnesses each year. Thousands require emergency care and hospitalization for severe cases of food poisoning, and some cases prove fatal. Foodborne illnesses can certainly be serious, but the good news is that they are often preventable. Here at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, we understand how uncomfortable food poisoning can be. Our emergency care team is committed to giving you the superior care you need to feel well again.

Start with clean hands
Handwashing is a simple, yet effective way to curb cases of foodborne illnesses. Slapping on some soap and rinsing off quickly, however, won’t remove germs well. Instead, use these hand-washing tips:

  • Use running water and plenty of soap
  • Scrub your hands well for at least 20 seconds
  • Scrub under the fingernails, between the fingers and up to the wrists
  • Dry your hands with a clean towel

Wash your hands before preparing meals and eating, and immediately after handling any raw meat, poultry or seafood.

Keep raw and cooked foods separate
Raw food like chicken and beef can easily contaminate cooked dishes and raw produce. Keep foods separate to prevent cross-contamination, and use separate kitchen utensils for these items.

For example, do not use the same cutting board for vegetables that you use for meat. Place cooked food on a clean platter, instead of using the same platter that held raw food.

Use a meat thermometer
Cooking foods to the proper internal temperature is essential for killing off micro-organisms inside the food. Print out a chart of safe internal food temperatures , and keep it posted on your fridge for easy reference. A meat thermometer is the only effective way to determine whether food is fully cooked and safe to eat.

The Emergency Room at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center is open 24/7, 365 days per year to save the lives of our neighbors throughout the Las Vegas community. True medical emergencies should be directed to a 911 dispatcher, but you can speak with a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300 if you have general questions. Our free nurse line can also connect you with a physician referral.

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