Avoid burns, scalding when gridiron grilling for the Super Bowl
Newswise — Grilling can provide some tasty dishes, but it also can cause unexpected burns, scalding, and fires. To help avoid unintended consequences, physicians at UT Southwestern Medical Center urge caution for those who are grilling as well as socializing.
“When you’re smelling the barbecue, it’s easy to forget that grills – both gas and charcoal – are still an open source of flame and a potential danger,” says Dr. Brett Arnoldo, a burn surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Some common precautions to prevent burns include: • Don’t pour water directly on coals. Beware of steam that can rise up unexpectedly and scald.• Use baking powder to help contain grease fires. Always have an extinguisher nearby in case flames get out of control or something else nearby catches fire.• Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and pets and away from any source of heat, including grills, fire pits, and chimineas. Never use gasoline as a source of ignition. • Never leave a lit grill unattended and designate an area around the grill for children to avoid. Children and pets should remain at least three feet from a grill to help avoid burns or accidentally knocking over the grill. Don’t lean directly over the grill. Be aware of clothing such as scarves, shirt tails, or apron strings that can catch fire when bending over. Consider flame-retardant oven mitts and long utensils to avoid burns.• Never try to move a hot grill. Be sure to wait for coals to cool off before disposing.
Also remember to avoid toxic fumes from charcoal. Burning charcoal produces carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas. Never burn charcoal indoors or in tents, RVs, campers, or other enclosed spaces.
Visit www.utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialties/emergency to learn more about emergency medicine at UT Southwestern.
Keep food in the safety zone this Super Bowl
Whether you’re grilling in the backyard or at a tailgate party, UT Southwestern Medical Center toxicologists say you can avoid food poisoning during this Super Bowl with a few cautionary steps.
Just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean food won’t spoil or become contaminated.
“Make sure your guests carry home fond memories instead of stomach aches or worse with sound food handling and preparation practices,” says Dr. Kurt Kleinschmidt, a toxicologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Preparation• Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods as soon as you get them home from the store. • If you're not going to use meats within a couple of days, freeze them. Once you've thawed meat, cook it. Don't re-freeze thawed meat. • Pack plenty of ice in coolers to store raw or leftover foods at tailgate parties. • Keep meats for grilling cold until you put them on the grill.
Handling• Before handling food, always wash your hands thoroughly in warm, soapy water or use hand sanitizer.• Don't leave food standing for long periods of time. A general rule of thumb is not to leave foods out for more than one hour.• Eat hot foods as soon as they're cooked or while they're still hot. • Remove cold foods from the refrigerator just before serving and put them away quickly.• Wash hands, surfaces, and utensils that come in contact with raw meats. Use different dishes and utensils with cooked meats and raw meats.
Cooking• Cook foods at recommended temperatures to kill bacteria. Use a meat thermometer to be sure the food is thoroughly cooked. That's especially important for ground beef. When grilling, cook hamburgers until they're no longer pink inside, or until juices run clear.• Generally, grilled meats should be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit and poultry to at least 160 degrees. Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 155 degrees in order to destroy the parasite that causes trichinosis. This disease causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, muscle soreness, fever and swelling around the eyes. If you're grilling pork ribs, you don't want the meat to be red near the bone.
Visit www.utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialties/emergency to learn more about emergency medicine at UT Southwestern. Be on the defensive for acetaminophen buildup
When seeking quick pain relief, people should not overuse acetaminophen as a cure-all, UT Southwestern Medical Center liver disease experts warn.
From Super Bowl parties to flu-season aches, many people reach for acetaminophen in its many forms – headache relief, sleep aids, cold and flu remedies, even some prescription painkillers – not realizing how quickly the medication can add up.
“It is easy to lose track of how much combined acetaminophen you're consuming when taking combinations of medicines, particularly for different ailments such as arthritis and perhaps a cold,” says Dr. William Lee, director of the Clinical Center for Liver Diseases at UT Southwestern.
Too much acetaminophen in the system at one time or over an extended period can cause serious liver damage, liver failure and even death. About 100 people in the U.S. die annually of accidental acetaminophen poisoning and another 15,000 end up in the emergency rooms from unknowingly taking too much. The average adult should avoid more than 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen per day, the equivalent of eight extra-strength tablets, and no more than 2,000 mg to 3,000 mg for those with liver problems like hepatitis or for those who drink regularly. Alcohol consumption, Dr. Lee warns, makes acetaminophen more toxic while depleting other substances that protect against liver damage.
Visit www.utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialties/digestive-liver for more information from UT Southwestern on digestive disorders. Practice safe uncorking of the bubbly when celebrating
Exploding champagne corks may add a dramatic flair to a Super Bowl party, but they can also cause serious eye injuries such as ruptured globes, detached retinas, and painful bruising.
Dr. Preston Blomquist, an ophthalmologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, recommends the following safety tips:• Chill champagne and sparkling wine to at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit. A cork in a cold bottle is less likely to pop unexpectedly.• Hold the cork down with the palm of your hand while removing the wire hood. • Point the bottle away from people, and hold it at a 45-degree angle.• Place a towel over the entire top of the bottle, grasp the cork, and slowly and firmly twist to break the seal. Hold the bottle firmly with one hand and use the other hand to slowly turn the cork with a slight upward pull. Continue until the cork is almost out of the neck. Counter the outward force of the cork by applying slight downward pressure just as the cork breaks free from the bottle.
Visit www.utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialities/eyes to learn more about ophthalmology at UT Southwestern. Option plays for Super Bowl binging
You’ve made the pledge to lose weight, but the fast-food, calorie-laden Super Bowl party is approaching. UT Southwestern Medical Center nutritionists have some tips on how to stay on track in the face of party temptations.
“There are plenty of tricks and tips for both partygoers and party hosts to help provide alternatives to full-throttle calorie binging,” says Lona Sandon, a clinical nutritionist at UT Southwestern.
Among the best tips for controlling the calorie count:• Eat a lower-calorie meal just before going or a salad prior to higher-calorie selections so you already feel full.• Drink water instead of other drinks to help you feel full during the party. Add a little flavor with a squeeze of lime, lemon, or orange.• Drink water instead of beer when eating salty foods. Remember moderation when it comes to alcohol: one drink for women, two drinks for men. One 12-ounce beer equals one drink. • Instead of depriving yourself of favorite foods, eat smaller portions. You’re less likely to binge eat if you don’t feel deprived. Wait 15 to 20 minutes before going back for seconds or dessert. Ask yourself if you are still hungry.• Think Tapas. Take a small sampling of the items you would like to taste.• Make your selections, then move away from the serving table rather than standing nearby and eating continuously without thinking.• Ask for a smaller plate, allow yourself one serving. Don’t pile on more food than fits on the smaller plate. If going back for seconds, pick the veggies: grape tomatoes, celery sticks, red pepper sticks, baby carrots.
Visit www.utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialties/weight-loss-obesity/obesity for more information from UT Southwestern on obesity.
Nutritional trade-offs for the Super Bowl
Making a healthier meal doesn’t always mean sacrifice. There are plenty of options for cutting calories as well as substitutes for some of the more high-calorie options.
“Not everyone is going to be satisfied with the salad bowl. If you’re not ready to replace your entire plate with healthy alternatives, you can still significantly cut down on calories and fats by blending your favorites with some lower-calorie options and alternatives,” says Lona Sandon, a clinical nutritionist at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Be realistic, she added. Fat free does not necessarily equate to lower calorie intake and the lack of flavor of some substitutes might actually lead people to want to eat more.
Offer taco salad bowls instead of burgers, substitute lean ground turkey and beans for beef or cold cuts, offer subs with lots salad-style fixings and use less cold cuts, or grill some vegetables to help fill the plate. In addition, pay attention to how much and how many portions you’re taking.
Below are some nutritional alternatives for Super Bowl parties:
Chips: Try baked versions, lightly salted pretzels, unbuttered popcorn sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese, trail mix, unsalted nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds. (These options are not really calorie savers over chips, just alternatives with better nutritional value.)Dip: Try salsas, low-fat sour cream dips or yogurt instead of traditional chip and vegetable dips, or low-fat versions of dressing instead of traditional ranch dressing. Substitute fat-free or lower-calorie ingredients such as vegetarian-style refried beans or whole beans, sour creams, low-fat cheeses and ground turkey to reduce calories for 7-layer dip.Pizza: If selecting more than one slice, substitute a slice of thin crust, veggie pizza for a slice of three-meat pizza. Or make homemade pizzas substituting lean ground turkey instead of hamburger or sausage and use low-fat cheese and wheat pizza doughs.Wings: For chicken wings, take the skin off, bake or grill instead of deep frying. Consider grilling chicken pieces instead of traditional wings. Make your own hot sauce without the butter and use low-fat versions of cream cheese, sour cream, and blue cheese or substitute plain Greek yogurt.Chili: Try meatless chili with different types of beans. Substitute or mix with ground turkey or ground soy. Include rice in the bowl to help fill you up faster. Beer/Soda: Try light wines and light beers. Drink a glass of water before grabbing the next beer or soda. Substitute flavored water for soda.Nachos: Cut calories with baked tortilla chips, vegetarian refried beans or mashed black beans, low-fat cheese, peppers and tomatoes, fat-free sour cream, and lean ground turkey or ground soy.BBQ: Try vinegar-based sauces instead of those with high brown-sugar content. Mix chicken and beef on your plate to help lower overall calories. Offer kabobs mixed with vegetables instead of traditional steak.Ribs: Try leaner beef ribs instead of pork ribs, which are usually fatter. Try baby back instead of normal ribs. Consider brisket instead because you’re likely to eat less.Burgers: Try using your favorite spices and rubs on veggie, turkey, or soy burgers to give similar flavor with fewer calories, or blend hamburger with ground turkey or ground soy. Try beef jerky to get the beef flavor. French fries: Try baked sweet potato fries. Macaroni and cheese: Try low-sugar baked beans or rice dishes. Bratwurst/hot dogs: Bratwurst usually has more calories than lean hotdogs. Look for 100 percent beef franks. Also try turkey or soy franks. Use wheat buns or tortillas.Desserts: Cut up fresh fruit, serve over low-fat vanilla yogurt in parfait cups or topped with light whip cream and a sprinkle of granola.
Visit www.utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialties/weight-loss-obesity/obesity for more information from UT Southwestern on obesity. Take a preventive game strategy on heartburn relief
Spicy, fatty, greasy food and excess alcohol may sound like a typical Super Bowl spread, but it’s also the recipe for heartburn. For decades, taking antacids after people already were experiencing heartburn was the only therapy available. Prevention is now emphasized, according to UT Southwestern Medical Center digestive experts.
“If you know you’re going to eat something that ordinarily gives you heartburn, there are medications you can take before eating that food that might help,” says Dr. Deepak Agrawal, a digestive specialist at UT Southwestern.
You can try to avoid foods that cause heartburn – cheese-, grease-, and fat-laden foods such as pizza, chili, wings, burgers, and cheese-laden nachos. “Fats promote heartburn. For example, they relax the sphincter in the lower esophagus and make it easier for acid to reflux into the esophagus,” Dr. Agrawal says.
If you know you’ll be indulging, try a histamine receptor blocker (H2 blocker), which slows the production of stomach acid. They are generally available over the counter.
“Most people suffering from heartburn get it every now and then,” says Dr. Agrawal, who specializes in gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). “Those are the people who really benefit from this medication. You can take one of those pills a half hour before a meal, and you may be able to prevent the heartburn.”
That approach won’t necessarily work for proton-pump inhibitors, which are really aimed at stopping daily heartburn and take at least several hours or even days to reach their full effect.
“So if you want to eat a pizza in the next half hour, it’s not going to stop the acid that you’re going to make in that time,” Dr. Agrawal says.
Antacids still can help for heartburn. Antacids act like a sponge to soak up the excess stomach acid, but they don’t prevent the stomach from creating more acid, like H2 blockers. It may help to take some antacid tablets to soak up acid currently being produced and take an H2 receptor blocker to slow the stomach from producing further acid. Eating certain types of foods or drinking milk in an attempt to reduce stomach acid generally doesn’t work, he says.
“Most of the foods that we eat buffer acid, but they also stimulate the stomach to produce acid later. That’s why we don’t recommend them as treatment,” Dr. Agrawal says.
If you are experiencing heartburn every day, have difficulty swallowing, or notice that stools are becoming black, you should see a gastroenterologist, he says.
Visit www.utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialties/digestive-liver for more information on digestive disorders at UT Southwestern. Tips for tackling diabetes at Super Bowl parties
Parties can present a challenge for those with diabetes, so it’s important to have a game plan before tackling the Super Bowl spread.
“Managing diabetes is really about making healthy food choices and controlling portions,” says Dr. Deborah Clegg, a diabetes nutritional specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
If you’re hosting a party, include healthy options such as salad, fruits, and vegetables. Low-calorie and sugar-free options can help diabetic friends and family control calories and carbohydrates and make sound choices without much fuss.
If you’re trying to keep control of your diabetes, find out what’s on tap for the Super Bowl party you’re attending. If it’s shaping up to be a high-carb feast, bring some of your own favorite dishes, or coordinate with other family and friends with diabetes to ensure the table includes healthier options.
Dr. Clegg offers these hosting guidelines:Zero ‘penalties’ for eating these foods:• Broad array of salad options, including sugar-free and low-calorie dressings, including salad greens, sprouts, mushrooms, onions, peppers, radishes, and tomatoes.• Unlimited beverages options such as water, unsweetened tea, coffee, and calorie-free diet sodas.• Grilled fish, skinless chicken or turkey, and/or soy-based “veggie” burgers.• Low/Non-fat dairy options including non-fat cheeses, yogurts and skim milk.5-yard penalties (meaning go sparingly and watch portion sizes) • Other vegetables (in more limited amounts) such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, artichokes, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, and okra.• Fruits such as apples, peaches, and most berries.• Whole grain options for rice, pasta, and breads in small portions.• Beans/legumes such as kidney, pinto or black beans, chick peas (also known as garbanzo beans), and lentils.• Fruits and vegetables, especially those with edible skin (apples, corn, and beans) and those with edible seeds (berries).15-yard penalty for consumption of these items:• Cookies, pies, desserts.• Potato chips, high-fat dips, and high-fat crackers.• Regular sodas, alcohol, and sweetened beverages.
“The goal is to keep the carbohydrates down – and encourage more of the protein-enriched foods -- to enhance satiety,” Dr. Clegg advises.
Dr. Clegg also coaches her patients to eat slowly, so that they eat a limited amount per quarter, and to get up and walk around during each commercial to encourage activity as well as better eating habits. It’s also important to monitor blood sugars on a regular basis throughout the game.
Visit www.utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialties/endocrinology/diabetes/management.html for more information from UT Southwestern on managing diabetes.
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