Is it safe to eat food that’s been left out in the sun?
According to Alison Sullivan, Registered Dietician at Good Samaritan Hospital, a Member the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, two hours of outdoor exposure is the window of safety for any food that needs to be refrigerated or cooked. In hot weather (greater than 90° F), that window decreases to one hour. “The concern is bacterial infection from contamination,” says Sullivan. With cooked food: “You’ve cooked it and killed bacteria. However, bacteria are everywhere, and even after food is cooked to a safe internal temperature and you leave it in the sun, bacteria could accumulate again, and you run the risk of a food-borne illness.”
Is it true that you have to wait 30 minutes after eating to swim?
“Waiting 30 minutes after eating is a myth,” says Kevin Dodd, MD, Medical Director of Gastroenterology at HealthAlliance, a Member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network. “There are no data to suggest that swimming after eating is an issue, though your mother may tell you differently.” Dr. Dodd surmises the myth may have arisen from the way people get fatigued or sleepy during the digestive process. “That’s the body’s natural rhythm — the reason why, in many parts of the world, you take a siesta after lunch,” Dr. Dodd says. “So perhaps it’s not a good idea to go swimming while you’re tired, because you’re not as mentally sharp.” Other myths involve the possibility of severe muscle cramping and even drowning, due to the gut recruiting a large amount of blood for digestion, but an episode of drowning after a large meal has never occurred.