Barbecue food safety
It's important to cook food thoroughly at a barbecue to avoid food poisoning. Food poisoning is usually mild, and most people get better within a week. But sometimes it can be more severe, even deadly, so it’s important to take the risks seriously. Children, older people and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning.
The two main risk factors to cooking on the barbecue are:
- undercooked meat
- spreading germs from raw meat onto food that’s ready to eat
This is because raw or undercooked meat can contain germs that cause food poisoning, such as salmonella, E.coli and campylobacter. However, it’s easy to kill these germs by cooking meat until it is piping hot throughout.
When you’re cooking any kind of meat on a barbecue, such as poultry (chicken or turkey), pork, steak, burgers or sausages, make sure:
- The coals are glowing red with a powdery grey surface before you start cooking, as this means that they're hot enough.
- Frozen meat is properly thawed before you cook it.
- You turn the meat regularly and move it around the barbecue to cook it evenly.
Remember that meat is safe to eat only when:
- It is piping hot in the centre.
- There is no pink meat visible.
- Any juices are clear.
Hay fever affects around 20% of people in the UK. Lindsey McManus of Allergy UK offers some tips on avoiding the causes and reducing your symptoms.
"The main triggers of hay fever are tree and grass pollen,” says Lindsey. “The pollen count is always higher when it’s a nice, bright, sunny day.”
- If grass makes you sneeze, get someone else to mow your lawn. If you react to grass and you spend time on the lawn, you'll get symptoms.
- Create a barrier by smearing Vaseline inside your nostrils.
- Don’t sit outside between 4pm and 7pm or in the early morning, as the pollen count is highest at these times.
- Don’t sleep or drive with the windows open, as this will allow pollen to come in.
- Damp dust regularly.
- Wash your hair. Pollen is sticky and may be in your hair.
- Vacuum. Pollen can live in carpet for up to three months.
- Talk to your GP or pharmacist about any treatment you’re taking for hay fever as it might be worth trying a new treatment. The same antihistamine [anti-allergy treatment] doesn’t always work for someone year after year. Try something different, such as a nasal spray or a new antihistamine.
Allergy UK helpline: 01322 619898
It's important to protect your and your children's skin in the sun to avoid sunburn and heat exhaustion.
Knowing how to treat an insect sting and how to recognise when it needs medical attention will help you do the right thing if you or your child are stung.
Insects such as wasps and bees sting as a defence mechanism (when they feel in danger) by injecting poisonous venom into the skin. For most people, stings are painful but harmless. But some people can have an immediate allergic reaction to being stung, which can be very dangerous.