People with certain at risk diseases like Arthritis an autoimmune disease may be susceptible to bacteria poisoning during festive occasions during the hot summer months. Back yard barbecues and picnics in the park set the stage for foodborne poisoning.

During these hot spells, “bacteria breed faster” says Ben Chapman, PhD, an assistant professor and food safety specialist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He went on to say that “there is a greater risk for contamination when you prep and eat food outside.”

People with autoimmune forms of arthritis have to be particularly careful. Their diseases and some medications, including disease-modifying drugs and corticosteroids, can weaken the immune system, making it harder to fight off harmful bacteria.

Corticosteroids - what is this?

Corticosteroids is synthetically made and used interchangeable with glucocorticoids, the two are slightly different as the latter is a subset of corticosteroids, a name you maybe familiar with prednisone which is used to treat arthritis.

Food poisoning can extend and amplifies the autoimmune system even if there is no arthritis it has a cascading effect of abdominal misery. Salmonella infection caused by its bacteria sets off a condition called reactive arthritis in people with arthritis reported Chris R. Morris, a rheumatologist with Arthritis Associates in Kingsport, Tenn. This illness formerly known as Reiter’s syndrome, has a tendency to last from a few weeks to several years, and causes rashes, swollen eyes and painful joints.

This article is not written to scare or prevent you from enjoying the pleasures of summer grilling but to emphasize how to be proactive in safe food handling to protect your health especially if your immune system is compromised.

Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Keep the food in the cooler until you are ready to grill or it’s on your plate. Keep the cooler in a shady spot with ice packs and make sure your meat is cooked all the way through by using a meat thermometer in the thickest parts.

Temperatures of Grilled Foods

Steaks and chops should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit

Burgers and other ground meat should be 160 degrees F.

Poultry should be 165 degrees F.

To learn more about the links between arthritis and food poisoning visit

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