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HEALTHWATCH -- Grilling Safety tips

Updated: Wednesday, August 28 2013, 08:35 PM CDT
HEALTHWATCH   --  Grilling makes the food taste better.  But it can also make for a potentially dangerous situation.  In today's Health Watch report, Channel Three's Jim Carmack looks at some ways to help you and your family to stay safe during the Labor Day weekend.

Holidays typically mean increased activity for emergency rooms.  So with labor day right around the corner we thought we'd stop by Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola to see what dangers you and your family should avoid.

As summer comes to an end, many families use the labor day weekend to spend time together and grill out.  Sadly, the act of grilling could send someone to the emergency room.

Dr. Timothy Rak, the Assistant Medical Director, Sacred Heart Emergency Room says, "We definitely see burns with grilling.  The charcoal isn't as bad as long as you're using charcoal lighter, but people try to douse that with too much charcoal lighter, or gasoline, isopropol alcohol, stuff like that which actually can flame up a little worse."

In addition to charcoal burns, propane or gas grills have the potential to explode if not used properly.

Bryan Nobles of Pensacola Hardware says, "In regards to a gas grill, you always want to leave the lid open when you're lighting the grill first so you don't have a flare up."

And if the flame ever goes out, do not try to relight the grill right away. If a flame goes out in a gas grill, you should always turn off all the burners, open the lid, wait about 5 minutes, leave the lid open, relight it and go from there.  When gas pools inside the grill, any spark could ignite the gas directly into your face, causing you to inhale the flames.

Dr. Rak says, "If it ever involves your nose, if you singed your nose hairs, if you're having a hard time breathing, hard time swallowing, or anything with your hands, your face or your eyes, air on the side of caution.  Let us be the ones to make sure that everything is ok with that because those can go really bad quickly."

Other food safety tips also apply.  Cook food thoroughly to the proper temperature.  Wash hands often, and never use the same utensils to cook and serve food.  If eating outdoors, don't leave your food sit out.  Salads and meat can begin to produce toxins in as little as 30 minutes.  We have a saying that when in doubt, throw it out.  If it smells bad, it is bad, and you'll be so happy you didn't get sick from that.

Another contributing factor to many emergency room visits year round is the addition of alcohol. 
HEALTHWATCH -- Grilling Safety tips


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