CHICAGO (CBS) — If you want your Thanksgiving guests to be thankful they joined you for Thursday’s big meal, public health officials said you need to practice good food safety habits.

Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Nirav Shah said millions of people get sick every year after eating food that might not have been handled properly. Thousands of those people wind up in hospitals, and some even die.

Shah said you should remember two key things first: keep hot food hot, and cold food cold while serving.

“Number two, keep everything in your kitchen clean; most importantly, your hands and your cooking utensils,” he said.

He also said, if you don’t want to be the guest telling your host he or she is doing something wrong while preparing one of the dishes for Thanksgiving, maybe just give your friends and family a nudge and let them know which item to avoid.

One thing you should never do is thaw your turkey at room temperature.

“It takes about 24 hours for every five pounds of turkey to thaw, so a 20- or 25-pound turkey can take up to 5 or 6 days. For some families, it might already be too late to start thawing your turkey,” he said.

After dinner, don’t let food sit out. Get it in the refrigerator as soon as possible.