How to Stay Healthy for the Holidays
With all of the holiday parties and gatherings this season, it's an easy (and inconvenient!) time of year to get sick! So Rachael turns to Dr. Ian Smith, who shares the basics on keeping your holiday healthy.
Dr. Ian says food-related illnesses are very common this time of year since we cook so much, and offers a few tips to make sure you use safe cooking practices.
Freezing and thawing turkeys: "I never knew that for a turkey, for example, you should only buy a turkey if it's fresh one to two days before you cook it," he says. If it's a frozen turkey, immediately put it in your freezer when you get home and leave enough time to thaw it properly. "The best way to thaw a turkey is inside the refrigerator; do not sit it on your counter top."
4 to 8 Pounds
12 to 16 Pounds
20 to 24 Pounds
1 to 2 Days
3 to 4 Days
5 to 6 Days
Refrigerating the meal: "Two hours after cooking a meal and setting it out you should typically refrigerate the food. Now the food you're most concerned about - poultry, meat and seafood - they spoil the fastest, in about 2-hours," Dr. Ian says. Veggies can stay out longer, as long as the dishes don't involve mayonnaise.
Leftovers: They will keep for three to four days, unless you put them in the freezer.
How to handle food poisoning: "I believe that in general if you're not getting better after 24 to 36-hours or your symptoms are getting worse, then definitely go see a doctor," he says, "just to make sure nothing more serious is going on."
Top reasons people end up in the E.R. this time of year: You may think cooking injuries would be the most common cause of trips to the hospital now, but Dr. Ian says chest pains are the top reason, which can be caused by stress or triggered by alcohol for people with underlying heart disease. The next most common reasons are gastro-intestinal illness aggravated by overeating at holiday meals, and upper-respiratory infections, strep throat and the flu.
How to tell if you are contagious: "It's really different depending on the illness," Dr. Ian says. "If you have something like a cold, an upper respiratory illness, it's typically when the systems are at their peak. So if you have mucous or phlegm that is colored, that typically means you have an active infection and you are highly contagious ... once [phlegm] becomes clear then you are on your way to feeling well and you are less contagious. The flu is different; if you have the flu you can be contagious a day before the symptoms even start [and up] to four or five days after the symptoms."
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