While enjoying a picnic or barbecue is one of the great traditions of Memorial Day weekend, getting ill from spoiled potato salad or a rotten deviled egg is one of the worst.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 48 million Americans become sick with food poisoning every year. Reactions to spoiled food can result in nausea, vomiting, fever or diarrhea.
To avoid any dietary mishaps this holiday, the CDC recommends that foods prone to spoiling not be kept unrefrigerated for more than two hours, one hour in extremely hot weather, and that meat is cooked to the proper temperature.
The United States Department of Agriculture even has a website dedicated to grilling safely, which explains the correct temperature for all your favorite summer meals.
Hot dogs, for example, need to be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit or until steaming hot.
In addition to hot dogs, the CDC recommends that whole meats be cooked to a temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit; ground meats cooked to 160; and poultry, 165.
A hiking trip can be a great way to celebrate the long holiday weekend, but one brush with poison ivy and a fun holiday excursion can turn excruciating.
While many people know to avoid poison ivy's infamous "leaves of three," the American Academy of Family Physicians says if people accidently swipe the plant they can quickly wash the skin with soap and water to help minimize effects. The oily sap of the plant contains urushiol, which bonds to the skin after a few minutes of contact and over the next few days will result in an itchy-blistered rash.
If you end up one of the unfortunate ones who didn't spot the plant in time, you can use one of the recommended over-the-counter medications such as a hydrocortisone cream, Calamine lotion, an antihistamine or an oatmeal bath to ease the symptoms.
For those with pollen allergies, spending Memorial Day outdoors can mean suffering through a host of unpleasant allergy symptoms from sneezing to itchy watery eyes.
In some states the summer grass season is already gearing up before the spring tree pollen season has fully ended. Anyone allergic to both kinds of pollen should consider staying inside for the long weekend.
However, Dr. Andy Nish, a Georgia-based allergist and fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, says people should try to avoid being out in the mornings if they have particularly bad reactions to grass pollen since the pollen count is usually highest during the early hours. Additionally, anyone who has allergies and is attending a barbecue may want to stay away from the grill.
"We know that other things [like smoke] can prime the nose and make it more sensitive to allergies," said Nish. "It can make [people] have a double whammy."
In addition to taking nasal steroids or over-the-counter medications, there are other steps allergy sufferers can take to lessen their symptoms. Nish recommends that people who are allergic to pollen change their clothes and take a shower when they get home so that the pollen isn't tracked indoors.