Safety tips for summer picnics
Sometime during the summer you can spend time outdoors with family and friends at a picnic or barbecue in the garden. If you are not careful in handling food and drink during these preparations, you are putting yourself and others at risk of potential foodborne illness. But we’re here to help you live well and work well – July 2023!
Bacteria multiply especially quickly in the summer heat, making outdoor cooking areas prime breeding grounds for E. coli and salmonella. Symptoms of foodborne illnesses can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.
Prevent food poisoning at picnics and barbecues with these simple tips:
- Clean. Wash cooking equipment, dishes and utensils between uses. Be sure to clean the surface of the grill after each use and wash the cutting boards after cooking raw meat. Bacteria can survive in many places, so it is important to wash hands and surfaces.
- Separate. Use one cooler for drinks and one for food. It is also important to separate raw foods (such as poultry, seafood and eggs) from those that are ready to eat. Finally, never eat anything left out of a refrigerator or cooler for more than two hours — or one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Chef. The food is safely cooked when the internal temperature gets high enough to kill bacteria that can make you sick. The best way to know if the food is cooked correctly is to use a meat thermometer. For example, hamburgers and hot dogs should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and chicken to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cold. Cool food quickly as bacteria can multiply quickly if left at room temperature. The “danger zone” for bacterial growth is 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remember that as summer temperatures rise, so does the risk of foodborne illness. If you have a mild case, it’s important to stay hydrated. More serious cases of food poisoning, which often include fever, severe abdominal pain, and symptoms of dehydration, require medical attention.
Skin cancer & you
At least 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70, making skin cancer the most common form of cancer in the United States. Fortunately, skin cancer is highly preventable by avoiding excessive sun exposure. Here are some tips to protect your skin from the sun:
- Stay in the shade under an umbrella, tree or other shelter. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the rays are at their strongest.
- Wear dark clothing made of tightly woven fabrics and a hat that protects the face, neck and ears.
- Use sunglasses to protect your eyes and the skin around them.
- Apply sunscreen all over the body and lips and reapply at least every two hours – and after swimming or sweating. Read more about choosing the right sunscreen in the infographic below.
Most skin cancers can be cured if diagnosed and treated early enough. It is important to inspect your skin for any spots or changes in color or appearance, as new spots or changes may indicate cancer. If you are concerned, contact your doctor.
Avoid artificial sweeteners for weight loss
The World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidance to avoid using zero-calorie, sugar-free sweeteners (NSS) – such as aspartame and stevia – for weight loss. The WHO announced that artificial and natural sweeteners have not been shown to help with long-term weight loss in children or adults. In fact, their use can come with side effects, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The authority’s only exception to the recommendation is for people with pre-existing diabetes.
This new guidance does not address consumer safety; it only comments on using NSS for long-term weight loss. However, eliminating sweeteners is the healthiest option. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about diet or disease risk.
Check out last month’s edition of Live Well Work Well – June 2023.
All of us here at CoverLink Wishing you continued health and safety this year!