A plate of food appears in this stock image. (Pixabay)

TEXAS – The fourth weekend of July is here, a time for celebrations, fireworks displays and, of course, lots of food. If your plans include attending or holding a party, you need to make sure your holiday weekend does not get off the rails from food poisoning.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms of food poisoning can range from mild to a reaction that can get you to a hospital. The most common symptoms are:

  • Anxious stomach
  • Stomach ache
  • Mixed
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • fever

Keep in mind that if you consume contaminated food or drink, it may take hours or even days for symptoms to appear.

It gets worse. If you develop any of the following severe symptoms, you should see a doctor or other healthcare provider:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • High temperature
  • Frequent vomiting that can lead to dehydration
  • Signs of dehydration including little or no urine or dry mouth
  • Diarrhea lasting more than three days

Which foods pose the greatest risk of poisoning? The CDC identifies the following:

  • Chicken, beef, pork and turkey
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Raw milk, as well as products made from it
  • Raw eggs
  • Raw seafood and shellfish
  • Cabbage
  • Raw flour

None of this sounds fun, so how do you prevent food poisoning? The CDC outlines four preventative measures: Clean, Special, Cook, Cold.

Clean: Wash hands and surfaces frequently. Also, wash dishes, cutting boards and tables with hot soapy water. Rinse fruits and vegetables under running water.

Separated: Do not contaminate the cross. Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate. Otherwise they can spread germs to ready-to-eat food. Use special cutting boards and plates for raw meat, poultry and seafood. When shopping, keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and their juices away from other foods. Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs away from other foods in the refrigerator.

cook: Cook your meals at the right temperature. Cooking at the right internal temperature will destroy the germs that will make you sick. Use a food thermometer to make sure food is cooked at the right temperature. Consult about this table for a list of foods and temperatures.

chilly: Keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees or below and be aware when we throw food out. Refrigerate perishable food within two hours. Do it for an hour if it has been outside at temperatures above 90 degrees. Thaw frozen foods safely in the refrigerator, cold water or microwave. Never melt foods on the counter.