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What to Know About Food Safety for the Holidays. +

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The holiday season is a time of celebration, which usually includes delicious food shared with family and friends. But with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it's still important to consider food safety. Pregnant women, children, and people with poor immune systems are especially vulnerable to foodborne illness.

If you or a loved one gets sick from contaminated food, there is a way to get medical care and treatment in Denton and Collin Counties. To get an appointment with Health Services of North Texas, click here. Our offices in Denton, Plano, and Wylie offer urgent care and primary care services.

The importance of food safety

The CDC estimates that about 48 million adults and children get sick from foodborne diseases each year in the U.S. This number includes 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. The holiday season can be risky as people often cook more elaborate meals and may have guests over for extended periods of time.

Food safety is essential because it helps prevent unfortunate incidences of food poisoning, which can have serious consequences. Common signs of foodborne illness are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and fever. Pregnant women, children, and those with weak or poor immune systems are particularly vulnerable. They may face severe health complications if exposed.

Tips for ensuring food safety for the holidays

FoodSafety.gov (a website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) recommends following four basic steps to keep yourself and others safe from foodborne illness: clean, separate, cook, and chill.

  • Clean: Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially before and after handling food. Clean all surfaces, cutting boards, and utensils used in food preparation.
  • Separate: Prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw meats, seafood, and poultry away from ready-to-eat foods. Use separate cutting boards for these items and store them properly to avoid contact.
  • Cook: Use a food thermometer to ensure all dishes are cooked to a proper temperature, killing any harmful bacteria.
  • Chill: Refrigerate leftovers promptly and keep perishable items at the appropriate temperature throughout the event.

What to do if you suspect food poisoning

If you or a loved one has symptoms of foodborne illness, seek medical attention. Make sure to inform your doctor at Health Services of North Texas about any recent holiday gatherings and what foods were consumed. Patients can seek urgent care at any of our locations in Denton, Plano, and Wylie.

To prevent further spread of the illness, discard any potentially contaminated leftovers and thoroughly clean all surfaces that may have come into contact with the food. Warn others who may have eaten the food as well to prevent additional cases.

Celebrate safely

The holidays are a time for celebration and togetherness, but it's important to also prioritize safety when preparing and sharing food. By following basic food safety steps in Denton, Plano, and Wylie, you can help prevent food poisoning and ensure that everyone stays healthy and happy throughout the holiday season.

And if an unfortunate incident does occur, resources are available to assist those in Denton and Collin Counties. Urgent care and primary care services allow families to get the medical attention they need quickly and conveniently. Schedule a health appointment with Health Services of North Texas by clicking here.