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James M. Steckelberg, M.D.read biographyclose window
James M. Steckelberg, M.D.James Steckelberg, M.D.
Dr. James Steckelberg is a consultant in the Division of Infectious Diseases and a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School.
A native of Fremont, Neb., Dr. Steckelberg was a Rhodes Scholar and graduated from the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine as a resident in internal medicine and a fellow in infectious diseases, and is board certified in both. He is the former director of the Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory at Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Steckelberg belongs to numerous professional organizations. He is a founding member of the Musculoskeletal Infection Society and a fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He has served on many Mayo Clinic committees and is a member of the Department of Medicine Leadership Committee and of the executive committee of the Division of Infectious Diseases. He also served on the editorial boards of "Mayo Clinic Proceedings" and "Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy" and has been an editorial reviewer for more than a dozen publications.
Dr. Steckelberg's research interests include experimental models of infection, epidemiology of infection, and antimicrobial resistance and therapy of bacterial infections.
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After a flood, are food and medicine safe to use?
Our home was flooded during severe weather. What should we do with the food and medicine that got wet?
from James M. Steckelberg, M.D.
After a flood, be cautious about handling foods and medications that were exposed to flood or unsafe municipal water. They may be contaminated with toxins or germs that can cause illnesses, such as hepatitis or gastroenteritis.
Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water. This includes food packed in plastic, paper and cardboard containers that have been water damaged. Discard food and beverage containers with screw caps, snap lids, crimped caps (soda bottles), twist caps, flip tops and home-canned foods, if they have come into contact with flood water. These containers cannot be disinfected. If in doubt, throw it out.
Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans or retort pouches (packages used to seal food for long-term unrefrigerated storage) can be saved if you remove the labels, thoroughly wash and rinse the outside of the containers, and then disinfect them with a sanitizing solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of safe drinking water. Be sure to put on new labels or write the food and expiration date on the containers when you're done.
Any medications — pills, liquids, drugs for injection, inhalers or skin medications — that have come into contact with flood or contaminated water should be discarded. The exception to this is drugs that are lifesaving and not easily replaced. In these cases, if the container is contaminated but the contents appear unaffected — for example, the pills are dry — the pills may be used until a replacement can be obtained. However, if a pill is wet, it is contaminated and should be discarded. After a flood, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately about getting replacement medications.Next question
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- Safe drug use after a natural disaster. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/EmergencyPreparedness/ucm085200.htm. Accessed Sept. 19, 2011.
- Food safety for consumers returning home after a hurricane and/or flooding. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm076993.htm. Accessed Sept. 19, 2011.
- Steckelberg JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 27, 2011.