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Don’t let a BBQ disaster put the flames out on your campfire

Camping, particularly at festivals, has become popular amongst young people in recent years, especially with students where finances are tight. All you need is a tent, a sleeping bag and off you go. But before you head off on your travels make sure you’re prepared for any nasty surprises along the way.

Around 18 million Brits go camping each year. Sleeping under canvas and enjoying the taste of food from a barbeque can be lots of fun. But with cases of food poisoning almost doubling during the summer months, it’s important to follow some basic advice. The last thing you want when you’re under the stars is an unhappy tummy!

Dr Paul Oliver, Clinical Lead at Nottingham North and East CCG said: “For many young people the freedom of the great outdoors and hanging out with friends is part of the enjoyment of camping. But if you’re cooking on a barbeque, especially a disposable one, it’s important to make sure that food is cooked properly to avoid food poisoning.

“Although food poisoning is usually mild, and most people get better within a week, there are times when it can be more severe, so it’s important to take the risks seriously. Follow these basic tips to avoid an upset stomach on your holiday.”

Basic tips are:

  • Prepare your barbeque early. This will ensure it’s at the right temperature by the time you want to cook. This is particularly important if you are using a disposable barbeque as it can take longer to heat up and to cook food. The coals should be glowing red with a powdery grey surface before you start cooking.
  • Regularly turn the meat and move it around the barbecue to ensure it is cooked evenly.
  • Always cut meat at the thickest part to ensure none of it is pink on the inside. Don’t assume that because meat is charred on the outside it will be cooked properly on the inside. It’s always safer to cut open and check your burgers, sausages and chicken are cooked. If in doubt – keep cooking.
  • And remember, meat is only safe to eat when:

• It’s piping hot in the centre;
• there’s no pink meat visible; and
• juices are clear.

Dr Oliver added: “It’s advisable to pack a basic first aid kit which includes treatment for stomach upsets, as most cases of food poisoning can be treated with over the counter medicines. It’s also worth including treatment for bites, stings, burns, allergies, headaches, sprains and strains to ensure that you are well prepared for any minor ailments while you’re away. Your local pharmacy can advise you on what you may need.”

A really useful interactive First Aid Kit guide can also be found at NHS Choices. This has a check list of useful things to include.

If symptoms persist and you need medical advice, call NHS111. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Simply dial 111 and you will be put through to the NHS. To find your nearest pharmacy, visit NHS Choices



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