Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Keeping Beasties at Bay: Part 2

Image from Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. (03/09/1943 - 09/15/1945)
Food poisoning is no joke. Though most people point to food eaten outside the home, there are plenty of ways to give yourself a visit to the hospital with food you mistreat in your very own home (including things you bring home as leftovers from restaurants).

I previously blogged about how to handle poultry. In this post, I'll discuss the ways you can prevent food poisoning nastiness from happening to you and your loved ones.

One of the biggest factors: personal hygiene. A large number of food-borne illnesses are carried by humans and distributed in a variety of ways. We won't get into the how's here. But, the best way to prevent them is to wash your hands. A lot. It's a great way to prevent a lot of disease, actually. When I started working in restaurants, where washing your hands a lot is routine, (or it should be!) I stopped getting colds.

When should you wash your hands when you are cooking?
  • After going to the bathroom
  • After sneezing and coughing into your hands (I'm really good at doing both of these into my upper sleeve)
  • After touching your face or hair, so get out of the habit of touching either when you are cooking. If you have long hair, tie it up so it doesn't fall into your face. Or the food. Blech!
  • After working with any food that can transmit a food-borne illness. This includes raw eggs, meat, seafood, or poultry.
  • After touching surfaces that others touch a lot, like a doorknob
  • After touching your pets or other people, particularly children
I know that seems like quite a list. If you find yourself or members of your family falling prey to that 24-hour "virus," hand washing can go a long way towards reducing that agony. It's worth it. 

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