A case of food poisoning can ruin happy memories of a summer picnic or barbecue. But there are simple, common sense ways to keep from getting sick. The Early Show medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay has tips on avoiding food-borne illnesses.
Summer usually brings a spike in the number of food poisoning cases. One reason for this increase is that bacteria grow faster in warmer, humid weather.
Another is that many people cook on outdoor grills, and their temperature can be tough to regulate. Sometimes chefs don't cook the food long enough, because they don't know how hot the grill is getting (many grills don't have temperature gages).
Letting food sit out for too long can also cause problems. And bacteria can spread faster if people who are cooking at a park or on the beach don't have access to running water and soap to clean themselves and their utensils.
Some of the most common food-borne illnesses seen during the summer are salmonella, E. coli and staphylococcus. These are conditions that begin with digestive problems such as diarrhea and vomiting. If not treated, they can lead to serious consequences such as kidney problems, which can result from E. coli.
So it's very important to take as many precautions as possible when eating and cooking outdoors during the summer months. Here are some tips on keeping safe: