With record high temperatures forecast for the rest of August, and winter still months away, healthcare officials have expressed concerns about rising cases of foodborne illnesses in Qatar.
Summer is the most common time for food poisoning cases in the Gulf country due to the heat, which facilitates bacterial growth, one Hamad Hospital emergency room doctor said.
In a statement, Dr. Galal Saleh Alessai, who is also a medical toxicologist, added:
“Common signs and symptoms of food poisoning include nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramps or pain, diarrhea, fever or bloody stool, and in severe cases the person may go into shock and collapse.
Elderly people, pregnant women, children under five years of age, people with a serious illness or disease such as diabetes, people with a compromised immune system, or those taking medication such as steroids, antibiotics or antihistamines, or people who travel frequently are at a greater risk of contracting the illness.”
To stay healthy, HMC recommends:
- Maintaining good personal hygiene. Wash hands, make sure to cover or pull hair back while cooking, keep tables and counters clean and make sure the kitchen is free of insects and other pests;
- Serving food (almost) immediately. Food is safest to consume on the same day that it is cooked. Preparing meals in advance could result in incorrectly storing food, increasing the risk of illness;
- Avoiding cross-contamination. When storing food in the refrigerator, be sure to keep cooked meals and raw items away from each other, for example by placing them on different shelves;
- Thawing carefully. When defrosting frozen chicken in the sink, use cold running water, and make sure the temperature does not exceed 21C. Keep frozen items in their original packaging to avoid contamination of the kitchen area; and
- Cooling with ice. Prepared food should be quickly stored in the fridge to lessen the time of room temperature exposure. To help cool down the food before storing, consider cutting up the item into small pieces, sealing it into a container and submerging it into a basin of crushed ice or chilled water.
What tips would you offer? Thoughts?
This doctor forgot the most important thing and that is where we buy our food from. Those shops and supermarkets have no idea about health and food protection, they transport meat and water in non refrigerated cars and in the shop they handle the food in their bare hand which in completely contimanted because they are coming from poor countries and have no health education what so ever!
It is no coincidence that every visitor to India gets sick no matter what precautions you take. Be prepared to visit the toilet often!
And why you refer to India only? There are many developing countries that you may get food poisoning
India is the most famous. The Dehli Belli is well known by all visitors…..
You haven’t been to Egypt yet!
I have been bit with India it’s not just the food, it’s the water, it’s the general hygiene. The locals are used to it but the rest of us….
Works the other way too though. Any change of gut flora has the possibility of causing issues. I know people who went through the ‘Singapore s%^$s’ when they moved from Pakistan (not exactly a beacon of food preparation hygiene) to cleanliness obsessed Singapore. It is just what your body is used to.
Been to India …didn’t get sick! Stayed in a local hotel, ate at local restaurants. Notify Guinness Book of Records MIMH!
You probably used to work in the industrial area and built up an immunity……
It is the employers responsibility to train and educate them if they choose to hire staff from developing countries.
One thing I notice in some fastfood type restaurants where the food is being handled in front of you is that they wear gloves (to make your sandwhich for example) and then still have those gloves on when they touch the kitchen appliances, handle money, etc. What is the point of gloves if they will be using it to touch everything?
Exactly these are disposable gloves and must not used with food if they are used with other items that may contain germs or microbes. But we also have responsibility to tell them not to do that since we will be effected and we are paying for the service and food.
Last week I was in Monoprix West Bay getting a sandwich at lunch. An employee was clearing used dishes/cutlery/napkins from customers that had finished eating. Then she went back to making sandwich without changing her dirty gloves. Whoever ate the sandwiches she was preparing next got some extra seasoning in the form of food bits from a previous customer. Made me wonder about the sandwich I was chewing on. When I caught her eye I suggested she change gloves. She acted like she didn’t (or genuinely couldn’t) understand English. I used to consider Monoprix as a “safer” option for food, but any store is only as good as its employees.
This is very dangerous since these gloves are used for cleaning dirty item and other item used by other people that might be sick of any dangerous disease
I’m happy that this topic came up in the news because I would like to know if anyone here knows the procedure on reporting food poisoning in Qatar from a restaurant or deli? This happened to my whole family last year when we bought ready to eat food from the hot food area inside Carrefour in Villagio mall. We were new here and tried looking up different numbers to call but had no luck on reporting anything, the problem with reporting it became more complicated because we didn’t go see a doctor since we all knew it was food poisoning and just stayed home to let the illness take its course. We also had friends who got food poisoning from the same place we bought our food from about two weeks later and they also tried to report it through several steps they were told to do but nothing was done by the people responsible of taking care of this. I almost felt like posting a sign that read “Do not eat from here, you’ll get food poisoning!” In front of that hot food deli shop inside Carrefour in Villagio Mall to protect others! So does anyone know how to report food poisoning successfully in Qatar? Thanks!
Residents who wish to report cases of food poisoning can use the SCH’s new hotline mobile numbers – 6674 0948 and 6674 0951. Once a report is filed, a team from the SCH will visit the affected people, then inspect the related food outlet and collect samples for laboratory examination.
Thank you Blue! I think we did called similar numbers for the SCH but no one answered the phone and when we got ahold of someone they told us we were supposed to file a health report first through a doctor or something like that.
Better the message goes out about ATM machines, the pads you type your pin on in the supermarket, money you have handled, Doors you push open, menus you hold, the ‘freshly wiped’ surface from the food court table, which is in fact covered in bacteria still, the shisha hose that 20 others before you held, with sweaty palms, etc etc…….. Far more density in the dangerous bacteria in these places…. I don’t agree with defrosting in the sink either. Easy way to spread water borne bacteria all over your basin, ready to infect the next set of dishes there if not sterilized properly. A lot of people also don’t realise that there can be a delay in onset of symptoms. It may not necessarily be the last meal you ate….. no harm in carrying around those little hand gel bottles. They do a good job for 2 secs application.