Due to a naturally weakened immune system, pregnant women and their growing babies are at higher risk for food borne illness which could lead to serious health problems. Follow these tips to avoid illness caused by harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical contaminants:
1. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling food as well as when using the bathroom, changing diapers or handling pets (have someone else change the litter box).
2. Rinse fruits and vegetables carefully under running water and wash cutting boards, utensils and countertops with hot, soapy water.
3. Keep raw meats, poultry and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods and use a separate cutting board and a clean plate once food has been cooked.
4. Use a food thermometer to be sure meat, poultry and seafood are cooked thoroughly.
5. Refrigerate perishable foods promptly especially in summer heat.
6. Thaw meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter at room temperature or defrost in the microwave before cooking.
7. Avoid unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses, luncheon deli meats and hot dogs (unless cooked to steaming hot), raw or undercooked eggs (including cookie dough) and sushi.
8. Avoid eating large fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish due to contaminants. (Good seafood choices include shrimp, light canned tuna, and salmon)
9. Check to see your refrigerator temperature registers 40 degrees F or below and the freezer at 0 degrees F.
*Be sure to check with your health care provider immediately if you experience vomiting, diarrhea or flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever and body aches.