Summer is the season when there are frequent cases of food poisoning. What is food poisoning? When you eat something and have symptoms like stomach pain, diarrhea, and fever as a result, you’re probably suffering from food poisoning. Bacteria are the cause of most cases of food poisoning. The heat and humidity of the Japanese summer makes it a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. You can prevent food poisoning by taking the following measures known as the “Three Food Poisoning Prevention Policies”.
- Keep away bacteria and viruses from the foods you prepare:
- Wash your hands & ingredients well; keep away rats & cockroaches from the kitchen.
- Prevent bacteria and viruses from growing:
-Eat foods soon after they’re prepared; keep them at 10 degrees Celsius or below.
- Kill bacteria and viruses:
-Fully heat food; sterilize chopping boards & knives, and dry them thoroughly after use.
- Check the label indicating “Best-before date” of the fish, meat, and vegetables you buy.
- Keep food in the fridge/freezer, when required. Avoid overfilling it--70% full is good.
- If you use well water, quality control of the water is critical. Wash your hands after touching raw meat, fish, eggs, and pets. Use separate sets of knives and chopping boards, ones for meat and fish and the other for vegetables. Cook the foods really well.
- Avoid leaving food at room temperature for a long time to prevent bacteria from growing.
- Reheat leftover foods at least at 75 degrees Celsius before eating them.
How to Treat Food Poisoning
If, unfortunately, you have the symptoms of food poisoning, go see a doctor immediately. Tell the physician how long you’ve had the symptoms, how bad they are, and what you ate. Note that these symptoms could easily be mistaken as a common cold or other illnesses. That’s why it’s important for you to see a doctor before things get too serious.
In case you cannot see a doctor for some reason, here are some first-aid actions you can take at home.
- Drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration.
- Drink tea made with warm water in order to avoid stimulating your stomach.
- Get a good rest.
- Eat foods that are easily digested.
(Effective June 2009)