Avoiding Foodborne Illnesses This Independence Day

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — If grilling is a part of your Independence Day celebrations, there are a few tips that could help make your holiday better and help you avoid foodborne illnesses.

Foodborne illnesses thrive during the summer and can happen easier than you think. They are more than just a stomach ache.

Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramping, dehydration and reduced urination. These symptoms can begin as quickly as four hours after exposure or can take up to six days.

Some preventatives to avoid foodborne illness include washing your hands before, after and in between handling raw meat. Health professionals also say to use separate knives, cutting boards and plates for different types of meat you may be grilling. It's also important to cook your meat thoroughly and to make sure raw meat doesn't touch any other groceries.

"Summer as a whole is whenever we’re going to see it most often but, of course, when big groups of people get together to grill out such as the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, things like that, we seem to see a spike in those foodborne illnesses," said Nycole Oliver, DNP, APRN at Baptist Health.

Oliver says the most common foodborne illness they see is salmonella. Children five and under, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illnesses.

In short, just be attentive and hygienic when it comes to raw meat to stay healthy.

If you know you've been exposed to raw meat, try to drink a lot of water and it may help keep those symptoms away.

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