Remember to stay healthy for the Holidays.  Christmas is a time for parties and having fun but we also see a lot of health problems.

When there are parties, there is a danger of food poisoning.

The first type is the one that sneaks up on you: Staph .

The Staph germ causes a nasty diarrhea. Although it can occur with meat, the most common story is that you go to a restaurant or party and eat something “white”: egg or tuna salad, something with Mayonnaise, sour cream, or frosting.

Four hours later, the caca hits the fan, so to speak, and you can’t decide if you want to throw up into the toilet or sit on it.

Alas, some people develop dehydration and end up in the emergency room in shock or with bloody diarrhea. It can be fatal with the old, young, and sick. (one of my patients was found dead at home after a party…she was a diabetic and didn’t want to “bother” the doctors so didn’t seek medical help). But most people get over it quickly with just fluids (water, flat soda, pedialyte etc).

You prevent it with simple prevention: Cook everything, keep it very hot or cold. Wash your hands. Throw out old food.

There are other types of food poisoning that are more serious. In the “good old days” we would have outbreaks of Salmonella and Shigella (AKA Paratyphoid or dysentery) . Every once in awhile, we see outbreaks from poorly cooked chicken, and one reason we can’t give our kids those cute baby turtles is that some of them carried Shigella and made kids sick. Then there is raw milk causing diarrhea. I once saw a lot of sick people who bartered, and would get raw milk from their neighbors. they had “camplobacter”. And, of course, E Coli is now in the news again: this week it is lettuce and green onions at Taco Bell.

This type of infection is actually well known, since many (but not all) cases of “tourista” AKA “Montezuma’s revenge” were from various types of E.Coli.

Again, treatment is usually fluids and medicine to make you feel better, but not antibiotics.

The prevention is to fully cook the meat.

Finally, during the holidays, remember don’t drive if drinking, wear your seatbelts, watch the icy roads, don’t over do it, etc.  

And the helpful people of the CDC have this ditty just to remind you how to stay healthy this holiday season:

Medpundit comments: Some people have too much time on their hand.Your tax dollars at work!


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician who lives in the rural Philippines with her husband, six dogs, three cats and a large extended family. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket, and she sometimes blogs on medical matters at Hey Doc’s Xanga site

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