Food poisoning on Thanksgiving: how to keep you and your family safe

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As we all gather around the dinner table to celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday, there’s one thing you need to be aware of to keep you and your family safe.

“Food poisoning, particularly at Thanksgiving, can have two different kinds of bacteria, clostridium perfringens, and salmonella,” said Jeanie Jaramillo-Stametz, PharmDManaging Director, Texas Panhandle Poison Center at TTUHSC-Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy. “The first one I mentioned is very common on poultry, so turkey and chicken, and that can cause a pretty severe food poisoning, where you would develop diarrhea, possibly vomiting, stomach cramping in a few hours. Salmonella can be much more serious. That can develop within 12 hours to up to 3 days and can be very persistent.”

In addition to symptoms like stomach cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea, which typically accommodate foodborne illness. Dr. Jaramillo said consumers should look out for another risk.

“The risk is that they’re going to get dehydrated. So the steps to take would be to make sure that you remain hydrated, drink plenty of fluids,” she said. “Gatorade has electrolytes in it to help replenish electrolytes you might lose, but also, water is very good to keep you from being dehydrated.”

Whenever we get sick, the first thing we tend to want to do is to take medicine to make the pain go away and make us feel better. When it comes to food poisoning, Dr. Jaramillo says that’s not the best course of action.

“With food poisoning, you pretty much just have to let it run its course. Your body’s just trying to get rid of the toxins, so you don’t want to take medicine to stop the vomiting or stop the diarrhea, because you want to let that clear out of your system,” she said. “However, if it continues for more than a few days, or you get severely dehydrated, then you need to seek medical attention.”

Dr. Jaramillo said some things you can do to reduce your risk include:

  • Refrigerating food within an hour to prevent bacteria growth
  • Cooking turkey and all meats to an internal temperature of 165 degrees using a meat thermometer
  • Not washing turkey to prevent cross contamination

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