Trying out the local cuisine of a place is something that all travelers love doing. Learning the different cooking techniques around the world and setting riot on our taste buds can be really exciting. But there is always that villain who comes in to spoil all the excitement. In this case it is the bacteria called E.Coli that attacks your intestines leading to The Traveler’s Tummy also known as the Travel Diarrhea. But this is not the only reason why you can get Traveler’s Tummy. Read on to find out how to prevent and treat yourself against this condition.
While the effects are mild in most cases like vomiting, stomach cramps, feeling nauseous; but there are cases that have seen serious consequences like severe dehydration, malnutrition etc. So it is better to deal with this condition with proper medical care as soon as possible. CDC has reported that around 70% travelers have reported to have encountered the Traveler’s Tummy during their trips.
Well you might have heard or read people asking you to drink a lot of water before flying. The reason is that the humidity inside a flight is just 20% which is a lot less when compared with the normal humidity (40%-70%). This can lead to a sore throat and a feeling of uneasiness in your stomach. So it is important to keep yourself hydrated during the flight. But again this is a very rare reason to give you the Traveler’s Tummy.
The main reason is usually improper food handling and consumption of contaminated water. I know it is hard to avoid the street food in some places but this can be the main reason that can upset your stomach.
Other reasons include stress, lack of sleep and exposing yourself to a new climate that can give you tummy problems.
I will not ask you to completely avoid local food and eat just the familiar food. Instead pay attention to the temperature of the food you are served. Always eat hot and freshly cooked meals. Avoid buffet and cold meat platters. Avoid eating fish during your trip as fishes easily accumulate contaminants and not many clean them properly before cooking.
Avoid salads, ketchup, mayonnaise that are not sealed.
Always have fruits and vegetable that you can wash and peel yourself.
When choosing a restaurant go where all locals go. More the people better would be the quality of the place. Eat street food occasionally but don’t make it your daily diet just because it is cheap.
Always buy bottled water and avoid drinking water from anywhere else. Avoid having ice cubes in your drink if possible.
And don’t shower with your mouth open. 😉
Sometimes even if you follow all the preventive measures there are chances that the bacteria can enter your system. So it would be a great to to know how to treat yourself when you see the symptoms appearing.
Loperamide or Pepto-Bismsol can help reducing the symptoms but make note that they will not cure you completely. But they do come real handy when you are in a situation where you don’t have access to restrooms.
Staying hydrated should be your main Priority. Try using Oral Re-hydration salts. Simply mix the powder in your water bottle and stay hydrated.
Usually the symptoms don’t last more than 2 days as long as you can keep yourself hydrated and away from contaminated food. You can also use antibiotics prescribed your doctor can help in a speedy recovery. Also antibiotics differ according to the location you are visiting, so make sure you mention your destination to the doctor.
If the symptoms get worse and are showing no signs of reducing, then pass over all these treatments and better consult a local clinic.
You have to be on an alert esp. when you are traveling to developing or under-developed countries where the sanitation and hygiene standards are below par. One such place is New Delhi, the capital of India, notorious for giving the travelers an upset tummy or as travelers call it ‘The Delhi Belly’. If you have traveled through India then there are chances that you might have been a victim to this or atleast met someone who has. The only time I had an encounter with Traveler’s Tummy was on a flight from Bangkok To Krabi because of dehydration.
But again traveling with your guard up all the time can spoil the fun. So give yourself some space, have fun, enjoy the local food and keep your medicines close.
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