A Few Helpful Tips to Prevent Food Poisoning
Contracting food poisoning while away on vacation can be simply devastating, but there are a few ways to Avoid Food Poisoning on Holidays! I am sure we have all had a family member or friend that became ill while away, and that it may have completely ruined or spoiled a few precious days of their long awaited-vacation.
I know I’ve certainly had friends become ill for a number of days on vacation and mostly due to what they had eaten just before! Today, with the outbreaks of the Norwalk virus on Cruise Ships and other select places, companies are now taking better steps to ensure better sanitary conditions. This is especially true with food preparation in restaurants, particularly buffets.
Check out this short and entertaining video outlining what Food Poisoning really is.
Increased Measures to Avoid Food Poisoning
In recent years, at all entrances to food outlets on cruise ships, it is not uncommon to see a staff member standing alongside the hand sanitizers encouraging all passengers to clean before entering. This is wonderful and if everyone obliges and does their part, the outbreak of bacterial viruses can be greatly reduced. Remember to wash your hands and or sanitize often!
As well, you will begin to notice more and more cruise ships, all inclusive resort hotels, and other places that offer those incredible buffets, start eliminating the self-serve aspect of food selection. Staff will be more and more involved in serving customers food choices in order to prevent the unsanitary handling and placing of food utensils.
If you are required to use public serving utensils, be cautious of where they are placed and how people are handling them. Do not handle your food with bare hands after touching these utensils, as they are contaminated with germs and bacteria from other users!
Avoid Food Poisoning By Being Careful What You Eat
Food can be contaminated quite easily if improperly stored or refrigerated, prepared and how the food is typically served. Bacterial viruses can be easily contracted as a result of this and with symptoms ranging from minor stomach and bowel disturbances, to very severe symptoms requiring bed rest and or hospitalization.
Here are some of the more common foods people do contract food poisoning while away on vacation.
Raw Seafood and Shellfish
As tempting as raw seafood is, especially for those that love sushi, unless you are certain that the fish has been stored and prepared to the highest of standards, avoid eating this food. This goes for shellfish as well!
Those lovely shrimp and prawns set out and displayed in buffets can be filled with bacteria if not stored, cooked and displayed properly. Many people become ill as result of eating shellfish while away. I have a very close friend, while staying in a 5 Star all-inclusive resort, become so ill, that he was bed ridden for 3 days and a doctor had to be called to the hotel. He had consumed a number of those beautiful Prawns you see at the buffet and immediately that night, became very very ill!
The doctor concluded that the shellfish he consumed was not properly stored and had become contaminated.
Here is a list of the more common types of food that people may contract food poisoning from while away on vacation:
Poorly cleaned Leafy Greens;
Raw or Poorly Cooked Eggs;
Poorly cooked Meat;
Avoid Food Poisoning Helpful Tip
A good rule of thumb to follow and I am sure many of you have heard this before;
If You Cannot Boil It, Peel It or Cook It… Leave It!
A Little Prevention Goes a Long Way
I know when I was younger and traveling, I didn’t care what I ate or drank and knock on wood, I’ve been extremely lucky other than the usual small bouts of diarrhea contracted from consuming non purified water and the introduction to unfamiliar foods. We didn’t have the luxury of bottled purified water years ago and had to do with tap water. But things have changed dramatically and now you can reduce the chances of becoming ill tenfold!
Today, it’s so much easier to prevent illness by making smart decisions on what we eat and drink while on vacation. Try to resist the urge to eat the items listed above and watch how others are handling the serving utensils at the buffet. Keep your hands away from your eyes and mouth always before washing. Use hand sanitizer as much as you can, even if you are not eating and walk by the dispenser!
On our recent all-inclusive vacation at the beautiful Oasis Tulum Hotel in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, we couldn’t help but notice the attention given to cleanliness, sanitation and food preparation in the buffet. Food was well cooked and handled and the salads were always fresh and clean each day!
Hand sanitizer was present at the entrance to the buffet, the same as you see on Cruise ships, staff were always on guard with ensuring serving utensils were clean and used in a proper manner. As well, we were provided each day with 2 bottles of water in our room and fresh purified water and ice were always available at the bars. A big change from years past and this was not a 5 star resort! Be sure to catch my previous post on the many Health Benefits of Water especially when traveling!
A few things to consider the next time you and your family are away on vacation to help prevent that dreaded Food Born Illness!
To learn more about the Symptoms of Food Poisoning, types and reactions, I’ve listed a very helpful website below for your convenience.
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