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Health Tip: Cooking a Holiday Ham

Posted 20 hours ago by

-- If you're cooking a holiday ham, make sure it's properly prepared to prevent foodborne illness. The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises: Set the oven temperature to at least 325 degrees Fahrenheit to reheat a fully cooked, packaged ham. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a food thermometer to detect the temperature. Heat a smoked packaged ham to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook a fresh ham to an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Let sit for three minutes before serving. Read more

Related support groups: Gastroenteritis, Traveler's Diarrhea, Campylobacter Gastroenteritis, Salmonella Gastroenteritis

How to Prepare That Holiday Turkey Safely

Posted 15 days ago by

TUESDAY, Nov. 22, 2016 – The traditional turkey centerpiece on Thanksgiving tables may come out looking scrumptious, but cooks in the kitchen need to be concerned about preparing the bird safely to prevent the spread of foodborne illness. That's the advice from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which offers the following safety precautions based on how your turkey will be prepared: Fresh Turkey A fresh turkey should be refrigerated until it's time to cook it. Be sure to place it in a pan that will catch any leaking juices and prevent the spread of potentially harmful bacteria, the agency advises. The USDA also recommends buying a fresh turkey no more than a day or two ahead of time. Never buy a pre-stuffed fresh turkey, the agency adds. The stuffing in these turkeys may not have been handled properly and may contain harmful germs. Frozen Turkey Turkeys can be safely ... Read more

Related support groups: Gastroenteritis, Infectious Gastroenteritis, Campylobacter Gastroenteritis, Salmonella Gastroenteritis

Food Safety Not Always on Menu of TV Cooking Shows

Posted 11 Nov 2016 by

FRIDAY, Nov. 11, 2016 – Safe food-handling procedures are often lacking on TV cooking shows, a new study finds. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, said if TV cooks fail to demonstrate safe practices, it may lead to unhealthy food preparation in viewers' home kitchens. For the study, the researchers looked at the use of utensils and gloves, protection from contamination, and time and temperature control in 39 episodes of 10 popular cooking shows. They also noted whether the shows mentioned food safety. The findings were published in the November-December issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. "The majority of practices rated were out of compliance or conformance with recommendations in at least 70 percent of episodes, and food safety practices were mentioned in only three episodes," said study lead author Nancy Cohen, a professor of nutrition at ... Read more

Related support groups: Gastroenteritis, Infectious Gastroenteritis, Traveler's Diarrhea, Campylobacter Gastroenteritis

Health Tip: Keep Kids Healthy Around Classroom Pets

Posted 11 Oct 2016 by

-- Classroom pets provide great learning opportunities for children, but they also bring germs to the classroom. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends: After children touch the animals, a cage or their food, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water. Wash hands after touching shoes or clothing that have been near the animals. Always wash hands before eating or drinking. Young children should be supervised while they wash their hands. If a sink isn't available, use hand sanitizer. Wash hands as soon as there's access to soap and water. Never clean animal cages, tanks or supplies in a sink near where food is prepared or eaten. Read more

Related support groups: Infections, Bacterial Infection, Gastroenteritis, Infectious Gastroenteritis

Health Tip: Separate Foods

Posted 3 Oct 2016 by

-- Raw meat can spread germs to other foods, so it's best to store and cook different foods separately. The website suggests: Designate separate cutting boards; one just for produce, and another for meat, poultry, seafood and eggs. Use separate plates as well, and always wash the plates after use. At the grocery, put poultry, eggs, seafood and meat in separate plastic bags away from the rest of the food. Keep poultry, meat, seafood and eggs in these separate bags inside the refrigerator or freezer. Store eggs in the carton in the main part of the refrigerator, rather than in the door. Read more

Related support groups: Gastroenteritis, Infectious Gastroenteritis, Salmonella Gastroenteritis

Health Tip: Make Sure Eggs Are Thoroughly Cooked

Posted 2 Oct 2016 by

-- Enjoying an egg for a meal or snack? Make sure it's properly cooked to avoid food-borne illness. The website recommends: Cooking scrambled eggs until they are no longer runny and are firm to the touch. Baking, broiling, frying or poaching eggs until both the yolk and white feel firm. Baking casseroles and other egg dishes until the center reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, measured with a food thermometer. Replacing raw egg whites with liquid egg substitute or a cooked mixture of egg and milk. Read more

Related support groups: Gastroenteritis, Infectious Gastroenteritis, Salmonella Gastroenteritis

Health Tip: Learn About Salmonella

Posted 10 Aug 2016 by

-- Salmonella bacteria is a common source of foodborne illness, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises: Never eat raw or undercooked eggs, which can harbor salmonella and other germs. Food is more often left unrefrigerated for long periods during summer, making food poisoning more common when the weather is warmer. Salmonella infection is downright dangerous for many people, including those with chronic diseases or weakened immune systems. Salmonella can affect many different foods, such as meat, sprouts, processed foods, eggs, fruits and vegetables. A salmonella infection can last for several days and cause diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever. Salmonella infections are relatively common, but most people don't seek a doctor's treatment, so an infection often goes unreported. Read more

Related support groups: Gastroenteritis, Infectious Gastroenteritis, Salmonella Gastroenteritis

Climate Change May Bring More Tainted Shellfish to Northern Seas

Posted 8 Aug 2016 by

MONDAY, Aug. 8, 2016 – Warming oceans may be boosting levels of dangerous bacteria in northern seas, possibly explaining why more people are getting sickened by tainted seafood and seawater, new research suggests. "From long-term data, it is apparent that the level of these pathogens is rising in the ocean as a result of global warming," said study author Luigi Vezzulli. He is an associate professor with the department of earth, environmental and life sciences at the University of Genoa, in Italy. At the moment, the threat to humans is still considered to be low. But Vezzulli said the germs in question, known as vibrios, pose a threat and must be monitored "in the light of ongoing climate change, especially in coastal areas most heavily affected by ocean warming." Vibrios are a kind of bacteria that live in many kinds of water, explained Craig Baker-Austin, a senior research scientist ... Read more

Related support groups: Gastroenteritis, Infectious Gastroenteritis, Traveler's Diarrhea

Health Tip: The Basics of Food Safety

Posted 20 Jul 2016 by

-- Make sure you've got your facts straight when it comes to food safety. The U.S. Food Safety Administration explains: Foodborne illnesses can be serious, resulting in chronic health problems or, rarely, death. Never thaw meat on a kitchen counter, as bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature. It's also important to marinate meat in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. While bleach is good for cleaning the kitchen, there's no benefit to using excessive amounts. Wash all fruit and vegetables with water (never detergent or soap), even if you're going to peel them. Never rinse raw meat, poultry or fish, which could spread contaminated juices. Follow microwaving instructions carefully, including allowing food to stand a few minutes after heating. This gives the food time to finish cooking. Don't rely on smell as a way to tell if food has gone bad. Some harmful bacteria ... Read more

Related support groups: Gastroenteritis, Infectious Gastroenteritis, Traveler's Diarrhea, Campylobacter Gastroenteritis

Health Tip: Packing for a Picnic

Posted 5 Jul 2016 by

-- Don't let contaminated food spoil your summer picnic. Make sure your edibles are safely packed. The website recommends: Packing food in an insulated cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. This includes deli meat, raw seafood, poultry or meat, pasta, egg, tuna, seafood salad, dairy products, and fruit and vegetables. Filling the cooler completely to help it stay cold. Store it in a shady spot, not in direct sunlight. Trying not to open the cooler frequently. Keeping food cold until it's time to cook. Keeping raw meat, seafood and poultry away from prepared foods. Read more

Related support groups: Gastroenteritis, Infectious Gastroenteritis, Traveler's Diarrhea, Campylobacter Gastroenteritis, Traveler's Diarrhea Prophylaxis

New Labeling Offers More Protection for Meat Lovers

Posted 27 May 2016 by

FRIDAY, May 27, 2016 – When you head to the grocery store to select your steaks for grilling this Memorial Day weekend, you might notice a new safety label on the package. This month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a new rule stating that mechanically tenderized beef must now be labeled as such and include safe cooking instructions for consumers. The tenderizing process involves piercing certain cuts of beef with needles or small blades to break up tissue and increase tenderness. But those blades can push germs to the interior of the meat, making proper and thorough cooking crucial. Mechanically tenderized beef looks the same as beef that has not been treated this way, so labeling is needed to alert consumers about this increased food safety risk, according to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. The new labeling rule took effect May 17. "These products, like all ... Read more

Related support groups: Gastroenteritis, Infectious Gastroenteritis, Traveler's Diarrhea, Campylobacter Gastroenteritis

Coffee, Wine Good for Healthy Gut, Sodas May Be Bad

Posted 28 Apr 2016 by

THURSDAY, April 28, 2016 – The food you eat and the medicines you take can alter your gut bacteria in ways that either help or harm your health, two new studies suggest. Foods like fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, wine, yogurt and buttermilk can increase the diversity of bacteria in a person's intestines. And that diversity can help ward off illness, said Dr. Jingyuan Fu, senior author of one of the studies. "It is believed that higher diversity and richness [in gut bacteria] is beneficial," explained Fu. She is an associate professor of genetics at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. On the other hand, foods containing loads of simple carbohydrates appear to reduce bacterial diversity in the gut, Fu and colleagues found. These include high-fat whole milk and sugar-sweetened soda. In addition, medications can also play a part in the makeup of your gut bacteria. Antibiotics, ... Read more

Related support groups: Metformin, Smoking, Heart Attack, Smoking Cessation, Caffeine, Glucophage, Fioricet, Excedrin, Janumet, Alert, Myocardial Infarction, Gastroenteritis, Fiorinal, Excedrin Migraine, Cafergot, Glucophage XR, Esgic, Fiorinal with Codeine, Stay Awake, Headache Relief

Norovirus a Costly Bug

Posted 26 Apr 2016 by

TUESDAY, April 26, 2016 – The stomach bug norovirus sickens nearly 700 million people worldwide annually and costs health care systems more than $4 billion a year, researchers report. And when lost productivity and other societal costs are included, that price tag jumps to more than $64 billion, the researchers added. The findings are believed to be the first to assess the global economic impact of the highly contagious virus, which is common in both poor and rich nations, the researchers said. "You only seem to hear about it when people get sick on a cruise ship or at a restaurant, but norovirus is everywhere," said study leader Sarah Bartsch, a research associate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore. "It doesn't matter how old you are or if you're in a wealthy country or a poorer one or if you've had it before – you can get it again. And it really is ... Read more

Related support groups: Gastroenteritis, Infectious Gastroenteritis

Day Care Babies Catch Stomach Bugs Earlier, But Get Fewer Later

Posted 26 Apr 2016 by

TUESDAY, April 26, 2016 – Babies in day care catch their first stomach bug earlier than home-based infants, but end up getting fewer of these gastrointestinal illnesses during their preschool years, new research suggests. Analyzing a group of more than 2,200 children – 83 percent of whom attended day care before age 1 – Dutch scientists found a 13 percent higher rate of so-called acute gastroenteritis, or "stomach flu," in day care children in their first two years. Later on, however, day care kids seemed to enjoy a protective effect from their early virus exposure, and suffered fewer stomach bugs from ages 3 to 6 years than peers who hadn't attended day care. "Day care does influence the timing of [gastroenteritis] but does not increase [its] overall burden," said study author Marieke de Hoog, a postdoctoral researcher in public health epidemiology at University Medical Center ... Read more

Related support groups: Gastroenteritis, Infectious Gastroenteritis

Fewer Cruises Rocked by Gastro Illness Outbreaks: CDC

Posted 15 Jan 2016 by

THURSDAY, Jan. 14, 2016 – Although outbreaks of illness on cruise ships tend to dominate the news when they occur, the actual number of outbreaks is small, a new U.S. government report says. Outbreaks of diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, headache, muscle aches or fever – called gastroenteritis – dropped significantly on cruise ships between 2008 and 2014, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday. "Of the more than 29,000 voyages between 2008 and 2014, outbreaks occurred on only 133, which is 0.5 percent," said lead researcher Amy Freeland, an epidemiologist with CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program. About 92 percent of outbreaks were caused by a norovirus, the leading cause of illness and outbreaks from contaminated food in the United States. Others were caused by bacteria such as E. coli, she said. A small fraction – just 0.18 percent – ... Read more

Related support groups: Diarrhea, Gastroenteritis

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