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Gut Check: Thanksgiving Eating Could Send You to the ER

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Today's LA Times offers "a cautionary tale" about the sin of gluttony and the perils of indigestion. In a chapter easily culled from the teachings of "When a Word to the Wise Isn't Always Sufficient," tomorrow's likely feasting can be the cause of great intestinal woes, and the bread-and-butter of area emergency rooms.Eating too much too fast or bacteria-laden undercooked turkey, or even getting bones or chunks of food stuck in their gullets is what sends most folks to the hospital late on Thanksgiving day or during the night. Dr. Nagi Sous, head of the ER at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center in Hollywood, cautions "those experiencing upset stomachs should be drinking only clear liquids; any more eating or taking aspirin or Alka Seltzer will just bring on an encore." Most folks won't be dying--they probably just have indigestion, but some may have gastroenteritis, aka the stomach flu, or others may need docs to extract lodged un-chewed pieces of food to accommodate proper breathing.

Your best fix: Slow down. Chew everything. Don't overdo it. Defrost the turkey in the fridge, and use a thermometer to make sure it's cooked all the way through. Another way to curb your own over-eating might be to spend the day giving food to those who don't have the luxury of gluttony, i.e. by volunteering to serve or provide food to those in need. For a list of suggested endeavors, check out our PhiLAnthropist guide to Thanksgiving Day volunteer opportunities.

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