Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorFor many of us, it’s a special day for family, food, and football. (Pick the order you prefer.)

One key to a good holiday is keeping everyone happy …and healthy.

For starters, you don’t want Turkey Day Tummy Syndrome.

Now I’m not talking about trying to gobble down an extra slice of pie into an already bursting stomach.

Instead, it’s something from the dreaded spoiled food that you didn’t think was spoiled. Either today or in the leftover days to come.

That’s where the 2-2-4 –which sounds like a football cadence– comes into play.

(I think you yell it at the line of scrimmage, or your kitchen, right after “Omaha- Omaha!)

The first “2” is the two hour rule. Any cooked food left out for more than two hours at room temperature should be benched.. into the trash. It may look good, smell good, and taste good– but two hours is the time bacteria will blitz your food.

The second “2” stands for two inches. When you refrigerate your food, separate things out and store in shallow containers that are no deeper than two inches. That way when they head to the fridge, they will chill quickly, and the bacteria are stuffed.

The “4” stands for the number of days you can enjoy those leftovers. Four days max. Day five of eating old stuffing may give you an intestinal tract that throws you for a major loss.

Of course, proper food prep and hygiene enters into all of this beforehand– but at this point, it’s still on you to call a play to keep your tummy happy in the days to come.

I’m sure you’d rather spend your next few days shopping, not in the bathroom huddle.

Happy thanksgiving.



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