Summer season is here with its scorching heat, sweat and high humidity levels, leaving you exhausted and de-energized. As temperatures and humidity go up, the risk of heat and food related illnesses too go high. It is the time of the year that we really need to take extra care about what we eat and drink. And do not forget, for kids it’s time for holidays, which means they will have plenty of time exploring places and trying on new things to eat and drink. So the chances of getting affected by food borne illnesses are high in summer.
Year after year, we hear and read the same advice: Handle food carefully in the summer because food borne illness or “food poisoning” is more prevalent in warmer weather. Do food borne illnesses increase during the summer months? If so, why we need to take extra care?
Yes, food borne illnesses do increase during the summer, and these are the natural causes. Bacteria are present throughout the environment in soil, air, water, and in the bodies of people and animals. These microorganisms grow faster in the warm summer months. Most food borne bacteria grow fastest at temperatures from 90 to 110 °F.
Bacteria also need moisture to flourish, and summer weather is often hot and humid. Given the right circumstances, harmful bacteria can quickly multiply on food to large numbers. When this happens, someone eating the food can get sick.
Outside activities increase during summer months. Kids no wonder are most excited to spend more time outdoors, ignoring their health and safety. More people are cooking outside at picnics, barbecues, and on camping trips. The safety controls that a kitchen provides – thermostat controlled cooking, refrigeration, and washing facilities are usually not available.
The FSSAI, other government agencies, and food producers must go at great lengths to keep food safe. And, of course, consumers can protect themselves at home with proper refrigeration and thorough cooking of perishable food.
In the summer, there is a significant rise in the cases of temperature-related illnesses and diseases like typhoid, gastroenteritis and food poisoning. Similarly there is a sharp increase in the cases of diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration during this time of the year. Sudden exposure to sun after staying in an air conditioned room can increase the chances of dehydration and illness associated with it. What you could do in these hot months of the year is:
(Read the full article in April 2016 issue of Safety Messenger Magazine)