As the days get longer and warmer and more people spend their evenings and weekends outdoors, the BC Centre for Disease Control has some tips to reduce the risk of illness.
Eating outdoors, whether it’s enjoying pre-cooked foods for a picnic or meat cooked on an outdoor grill, is a rite of the season. But bacteria on food can multiply quickly in the warmer weather and contaminate food, leading to stomach aches, diarrhea or more serious health issues.
It‘s estimated that 1,400 people in BC get sick from foodborne illness (food poisoning) every day. Preparing and handling food safely using the five summer “C’s” reduces the risk of illness.
Be clean: Always wash your hands
Don’t cross-contaminate: Prepare and handle raw foods separately from cooked foods
Cook raw foods: Use a meat thermometer to ensure raw foods are cooked thoroughly
Chill leftovers: Do it immediately following a meal
Keep coolers cold: Use freezer packs or ice to ensure fresh, unspoiled food
The summer season also brings more people out hiking and walking in wooded or forested areas. Hikers should be mindful of ticks and take precautions to prevent bites.
While the risk of contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite is extremely low in BC, it’s still important for hikers to wear long sleeves, pants and light-coloured clothing. Hikers should also use an insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin.
After being in an area that may have ticks, inspect your clothing and skin as well as that of children and pets. If you see a tick, remove it yourself by using tweezers if a tick has buried itself into your skin, go to your family doctor or a walk-in clinic and have it removed immediately.
BC Centre for Disease Control is an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, a specialist in prevention. PHSA is committed to sharing expertise and knowledge to promote health and prevent illness, manage chronic conditions and lessen the burden of disease in high risk populations.
604-707-2412 or pager: 604-871-5699