Health December 18, 2023 | 11:32 am

Specialists have highlighted tips to ensure proper food handling and to recognize symptoms that require attention

SANTO DOMINGO.- In anticipation of the Christmas and New Year festivities, Elianet Castillo, an infectious disease specialist at the Medical Center for Diabetes, Obesity, and Specialties (CEMDOE), has urged people to maintain healthy habits to prevent food poisoning through safe practices for individuals and families.

“Food poisoning is a syndrome caused by consuming food contaminated with microorganisms, toxins, or chemicals. It is associated with more than 250 pathogens, particularly when food is mishandled,” the specialist explained.

The foods most commonly linked to food poisoning include undercooked or improperly reheated meats, eggs, creams, mayonnaise, unpasteurized milk, seafood, fruits, and vegetables.

She noted that symptoms of food poisoning, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, general malaise, and sometimes fever, usually appear abruptly and can start within six hours after consuming contaminated food.

“A sign of food poisoning is that multiple people who consumed the same contaminated source are affected. Symptoms typically last a few days, and most people recover well without medical treatment. However, in immunocompromised individuals (like cancer patients, those on steroids, or other immunosuppressive medications), and patients with comorbidities like heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes, the illness can be more severe or prolonged, requiring specialized medical care,” stated the specialist from the center accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI).

According to international food safety standards, Dr. Castillo recommends eight tips to reduce the risk of contracting foodborne illnesses: wash hands and surfaces where food will be handled; wash fruits and vegetables; separate foods to avoid cross-contamination between fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, poultry, and eggs; wash utensils that have been in contact with these foods, especially if they were raw.

Additionally, she advises cooking food to the correct temperature; ensuring that reheated food is completely cooked or heated before consumption; not leaving perishable foods out of the refrigerator for more than an hour; and not marinating foods on the kitchen counter, instead marinating in the refrigerator.


CEMDOE is an outpatient medical institution accredited by the Joint Commission International. It focuses on providing comprehensive, safe, and quality care centered on the patient and their family. The center offers over 45 specialties, a clinical laboratory, a state-of-the-art imaging center, endoscopy, a multipurpose operating room, hemodialysis, and a specialized diabetic foot area. CEMDOE is part of INTEGRA, a health asset manager.

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December 18, 2023 7:23 pm

we need to get educated how to handle ourselves ,than handling everything else including food will be a breeze…
to us this is different planet …