Mérida, Yucatán — Intestinal infections have increased alarmingly, up 37.5 percent over this time last year.
More than 3,500 intestinal infections were reported in Yucatán the last week of May, capping off a 2017 that has afflicted over 68,000 people so far. Slightly more women than men have been stricken.
Since reporting the data, the Ministry of Health advises the population to be careful when ordering street food, and don’t forget sanitation practices when cooking at home.
Health experts emphasize clean hands, whether from commercial cooks or in one’s own kitchen, to prevent bacteria from entering the body.
Infections can come from any kitchen, but a street vendor is particularly prone to bacteria because the food preparer has less access to hot, soapy water and is working in uncontrolled conditions. Keeping food at proper temperatures is more of a challenge in hot weather.
Eating in a food preparation area is frowned upon, and surfaces touched by raw meat can’t be allowed to come in contact with other food, particularly raw produce. More food safety tips here.
Symptoms of intestinal infections include vomiting, fever, headache and diarrhea, which, if left unattended, can lead to dehydration and even death.
Food poisoning can be serious to anyone with a weakened immune system.
After two to five days, a doctor’s visit may be necessary, when the bacteria can be identified in a stool sample. But sufferers will likely recover on their own with plenty of fluids, reports WebMD.