PROTECT YOURSELF FROM TRAVELLERS TUMMY
Delhi Belly and travellers diarrhoea… A very warm welcome to my blog!
I’m sure you’re all very excited to be reading about the lovely reality of food poisoning whilst travelling… If you are then I’m sure you’re either heading on a journey to a cultural foodie destination, or you’ve experienced the unfortunate horror for yourself!
Regardless of your reason, food poisoning is an issue to be well aware of. You don’t want to be stuck in an unknown country and miss out on all the fun while you’re stuck on the loo.
To save yourself from the confusion like I faced whilst being sick on my travels, here are a few ways to lessen your chance of the dreaded traveller’s tummy.
Drink Filtered Water Only
Using bottled water is the biggest and most known way to protect yourself from getting sick throughout your travels. But, to reduce your plastic consumption I suggest booking a room with a kettle so that you can boil the water and use in a refillable bottle. Filter straws are also a great idea to avoid getting sick!
Google the destination before you arrive so that you are well aware of any precautions you need to take. Clean water is a necessity!
BUT BE WEARY, CHECK THE SEAL
Although bottled water is by far the safest option, it is also very common for developing countries to fill up bottles with tap water to re-sell.
So test before you buy. The easiest way to do so is firstly:
– By checking the seal (pretty obvious) to see if it has been tampered with. When you twist the cap make sure you can hear the click and feel it break in 3 places.
– Make sure the cap has not been glued on! If it has, the cap will slide instead of click. Glueing the cap on is the easiest way to fool consumers into thinking the bottle is sealed. So don’t be a fool!
– Squeeze the bottle to see if it leaks through any gaps. Your bottle should still be airtight.
– If there is a plastic cover over the lid, ensure it is not loose. If so, it has more than likely been used by someone and refilled from the street.
To try and prevent this from happening to anyone else, crush your bottle after you’ve drunk the liquid. This way there will be no opportunity for the scammers to re-fill your bottle and get away with it; bonus!
Don’t get ice unless you know it’s Filtered
Something that is very easily forgotten, is the risk of ice. Ice, in developing countries, tends to just be pure tap water that can contain nasty bacteria. So if you’re getting a drink and you’re craving a cold fix, just ask the staff members if the ice is filtered water.
If you’re unsure, skip out and get something cold and sealed from the fridge!
Although I’m a strong advocate for not eating meat in general, I can’t change your choices… But I can suggest a few things, right?
In places with hot climates, you really have no idea how long meat has been soaking up the sun, or what temperature it has been sitting in. You also have no idea how healthy the animal was before it was cooked for you. Meat has an extremely high risk of food poisoning, so if you can avoid it for the duration of your holiday (depending on where you are) I’m sure you will be extremely thankful.
Another thing I might add is that you also don’t have clarity that the meat you’re ordering is the meat you will be served. In India, we had a group member who was almost tricked into ordering a beef dish when it was really water buffalo. You just never know.
Only eat food that is freshly cooked
Do not buy street food that has been sitting in the humidity. Do not buy street food that has been sitting for 8 hours. Street foods are some of the best, but unless you are 100% certain that the food is fresh and cooked in a clean environment, I would simply avoid it at all costs!
Wash your hands / Use Hand Sanitiser
Taking hand sanitiser is a must in third world countries. There are a lot of dirty and unsanitised things that you don’t want to be putting in your mouth.
When you stop and think about it, in some places there are people doing their business in the street, you may touch something they have touched and you could potentially put it in your mouth when you pick up your food. Disgusting!
Hand sanitiser is small, compact and gives you access to clean hands without using any water. This tip will save your stomach!
Avoid Dairy when in Hot Climates
We had 2 group members, my cousin and another Australian woman, who drank an “iced coffee” in India, and ended up with horrific Delhi belly whilst on an overnight train. So just try to avoid dairy where ever you can, especially if the weather is warm.
Refrigeration in some countries is very poor and you also have no idea how long the products have been there for. It could be 2-month-old milk for all you know.
Don’t over think it!
If you’re going to get sick, you’re going to get sick.
I got horrendous food poisoning from a touristy London Fish n Chips and ended up in hospital, passing out for a good couple of minutes and hitting my head on a shower screen (ridiculous I know)… If that isn’t enough to prove that you will get sick regardless of where you are, I don’t know what is.
Don’t over think it, if your too precautious I can almost guarantee you’re going to be the unlucky one that ends up with travellers diarrhoea, and that just ain’t fun!
There is nothing worse than travellers tummy, so use these tips to try and make your holiday the best you can while avoiding food poisoning, Delhi belly and travellers diarrhoea. As much as I hate to write about our unfortunate bowel movements… I can put all my money on the fact that everyone will experience it at one stage or another.
This is super important, so make sure your health is a priority on your travels and most importantly, make sure to enjoy all the delicious food!