After-hours doctors have warned Queenslanders to be extra vigilant when preparing food, with the current heatwave leading to a spike in the number of food poisoning cases.
In the past week, House Call Doctor has responded to patients suffering food poisoning in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Ipswich, as temperatures climbed.
House Call Doctor’s Doctor Ryan Harvey said with extreme weather conditions forecast to stay, it was imperative Queenslanders considered how their food was stored and prepared.
“Food poisoning and illnesses such as salmonella can not only be incredibly uncomfortable – they can also be dangerous,” Dr Harvey said.
“Keeping food at regulated temperatures is very important to help reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses.
Make sure meats aren’t left on the bench to defrost, cold foods (including eggs) are kept in the fridge, and meats are cooked through before you eat them.
“Don’t leave snacks like cheeses or dips out for too long in this heat either.”
Federal Government statistics show the number of salmonella cases in Australia has increased significantly over the past 20 years and Australia has one of the highest rates of food-borne illness.
Dr Harvey said symptoms of food poisoning and salmonella are varied. “Many of us have unfortunately experienced food poisoning at some time in our lives and know how awful it can be,” he said.
“Common symptoms include whole-body chills, light-headedness, vomiting, headache, fatigue and dehydration.
“Most cases of food poisoning will pass with time but there are risks associated with it, in particular dehydration.
Make sure you, or your loved one, is kept hydrated by giving them water and hydrolytes.
“If symptoms persist, make sure you see a GP or healthcare professional.”