Summer, what for most parts of the country is the most warm and humid part of the year, is also the time when stomach flu symptoms are most likely to appear due to flourishing bacteria.
Why? Warm summer weather and humidity are perfect for bacterial growth, and preparing food outside/picnicking can add likeliness that food will become contaminated or spoil just enough to cause stomach flu symptoms!
What Are Stomach Flu Symptoms?
Stomach flu symptoms can be characterized by:
- Stomach Pain or Nausea
Stomach flu symptoms can start hours or days after the virus that causes stomach flu symptoms gets into the GI Tract, and stomach flu is contagious for up to a few weeks!
Fight Stomach Flu! Practice Food Safety:
Thoroughly washing hands, surfaces, and utensils is the best way to stop contamination of food. World wide, stomach flu is the leading cause of death in children, and the reason if most often tied to improper hygiene. While most Americans have healthy immune systems, mild stomach flu symptoms can still strike!
Ensure that food is properly handled: keep it refrigerated, and cook meats to their optimal temperature (which varies by type of meat and cut, but is in the range of 145F-165F). Don’t let food sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour in hot weather)!
Keep meats from contaminating fruits, vegetables, and pre-cooked meats. Wash produce (by scrubbing under clean water, which will remove the majority of germs), and reheat precooked meats to a safe temperature to kill germs.
Water is also a source for stomach flu symptoms, especially when travelling during the summer. If clean water isn’t available from the tap, bottled water that is marked as either “distilled” or “purified” (by reverse osmosis usually) are good options. As a back up, bottled drinks (especially by American soda companies) are usually made with purified water and are safe to drink. Adding a small amount of alcohol to water (as was done on ships in times gone by) can also be a last resort to create clean drinking water.
How do you keep your favorite summer meals safe?