Stay Happy and Healthy this Holiday Season: Prevent Foodborne Illness!

By December 5, 2023 No Comments

Don’t let foodborne illness steal the joys of your holiday season. Staying healthy and food safe can be easy if you follow the right steps.

Who’s at risk for foodborne illness?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases every year. 1

Pregnant people 

Pregnant people are at increased risk of getting sick from food poisoning. Some foods pregnant people should avoid are:

  • Raw or undercooked poultry or meat
  • Unheated deli meat and cold cuts like hot dogs or dry sausages
  • Unpasteurized and raw milk and dairy products made from raw milk
  • Soft cheeses like queso fresco, queso blanco, brie, feta, and blue veined cheese
  • Raw or undercooked seafood
  • Smoked seafood (except in a cooked dish)
  • Unpasteurized juice or cider
  • Uncooked flour, including raw dough or batter
  • Any holiday punches or eggnogs that are alcoholic (due to effects of alcohol on the fetus, not because of foodborne illness)

Children under 5 years old

Growing bodies with developing immune systems can’t fight off illnesses like adults can. This puts children under 5 years old at higher risk for foodborne illness. Some foods children should avoid are:

  • Raw or undercooked foods including meat, poultry, and eggs
  • Unpasteurized milk or juice
  • Raw or undercooked oysters and seafood
  • Honey (if your child is under 1 year old)

Learn more about people at higher risk for foodborne illness:

  • CDC: Safer Food Choices for Pregnant People English | Spanish
  • People at Risk: Children Under Five English | Spanish
  • (American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP]): Food-Borne Illnesses Prevention English | Spanish

Food Poisoning Warning Bells

Food poisoning symptoms can last a few hours and up to a few days. Some common symptoms to look out for are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

Call your doctor if you/your child have any of these severe food poisoning symptoms:

  • High fever (over 102°F)
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Diarrhea for more than three days
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Dehydration (dry mouth and throat, feeling dizzy when you stand up, decreased urine)


  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Holiday Food Safety English | Spanish
  • CDC: 10 Dangerous Food Mistakes English | Spanish
  • (AAP): Food Poisoning & Contamination: Information for Families English | Spanish