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How to grill safely on Memorial Day weekend and avoid food poisoning

According to the USDA, more than 100,000 cases of food poisoning are reported each year.
Credit: KTVB
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BOISE, Idaho — Memorial Day weekend brings people out for barbeques and picnics but nothing ruins a summer party quicker than food poisoning. The USDA is putting Americans on notice to be vigilant to avoid any foodborne illnesses.

According to the USDA, more than 100,000 cases of food poisoning are reported each year. But health experts say just taking a few simple precautions can save people a trip to the doctor and keep summer parties worry free.

The most common culprits behind foodborne illness are undercooked meats, contaminated cooking surfaces and leaving food out too long in the heat, which allows bacteria to grow.

Brad Bigford, a nurse practitioner and owner of Table Rock Mobile Medicine, said he sees patients with food poisoning often and which illnesses they come in with.

MORE: Life in Balance: Food recalls increase due to foodborne illnesses and what you need to know about them

"The most common ones are salmonella, staph – which is something that people don't always think about, e-Coli, and then there's some viruses like norovirus are some of the most common ones," he said.

Bigford said most cases aren't serious but some can become more extreme and cause hospitalization. E-coli, for example, can shut down a person's kidneys if left untreated.

So what can someone do if they get a nasty taste of food poisoning?

"Focus on a clear liquid diet, so meaning anything you hold up the light, the light will shine through it. So that's like your Gatorades, Pedialyte, juices, water. Avoid a full liquid diet, things like milk, cheese, yogurt," Bigford said. "Then once you can keep that down for a while because that's the most important thing is keeping liquids down - then advance your diet to what we call a BRAT diet - bananas, rice, applesauce, toast."

Other solutions Bigford offers is that taking small sips of liquids can counteract any nausea. Also, strong tastes or smells, like chewing peppermint gum, can help with nausea.

If symptoms become severe or last for a while, you should go to a hospital.

Looking for recipes for Memorial Day weekend? Watch KTVB Kitchen recipes

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