(WKOW) -- Nothing says "summer" like a backyard barbecue. Unfortunately, summer is also the time doctors see more food-related illnesses.
"Food-related illness always seems to spike in the summer. It's one of those things that we do see a lot more of, whether it's because people are doing more barbecuing, or there's more family interactions, and there's larger family get-togethers, we don't know," said Dr. Frank Esper with the Cleveland Clinic.
A recent study found three main culprits behind foodborne illnesses were under-cooked meat, cross-contamination and improper hand-washing. The study showed that people weren't washing their hands properly 97% of the time. Doctors say you have to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds to be safe. Hand sanitizers are a good option too, but even those are not foolproof if used incorrectly.
"The alcohol sanitizers, as well, work very well and are actually a little more quicker so to speak, but you have to make sure you get the alcohol all over the place and not just on the palms and not the rest of your fingers," said Dr. Esper.
Symptoms of food poisoning include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills and headache. Eating under-cooked meat can lead to serious illness, so you should see a doctor right away if you think you may have eaten under-cooked meat.