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Gastroenteritis in Adults and Older Children - Topic Overview

How can you prevent gastroenteritis?

The best thing you can do to keep from catching gastroenteritis from someone else is to make a habit of washing your hands often. This is especially important after you use the bathroom, after you change a baby's diaper, and before you eat or prepare food.

Don't share personal items like forks and spoons, toothbrushes, and towels. Try not to be around others who have stomach flu. Keep your hands away from your nose, eyes, and mouth.

You can prevent food poisoning by taking steps to make sure your food is not contaminated:

  • Wash cutting boards and countertops often with hot, soapy water. Consider using disinfectant sprays or wipes on your counters.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • Do not eat meats, dressings, salads, or other foods that have been kept at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Use a thermometer to check your refrigerator. It should be between 34°F (1.1°C) and 40°F (4.4°C).
  • Defrost meats in the refrigerator or microwave, not on the kitchen counter.
  • Cook meat until it is well done.
  • Do not eat raw eggs or uncooked sauces made with raw eggs.
  • Do not take chances. If food looks or tastes spoiled, throw it out.
  • Be extra careful when you travel. In some countries, you may not want to drink water from the tap (including ice cubes) or eat any raw foods.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 09, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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