This, unfortunately, is in no way going to guarantee that you don’t get sick if you follow my suggestions step by step, but it may stop you from getting a bad case of Dysentery or even a mild but embarrassing case of Diarrhoea. I myself have been caught out in Nepal a few times before following the steps below, and it wasn’t local food that got me the first and the worst time, it was my passion for chocolate croissants that had me in bed for two days, and very ill for the following week or so. Light cases have come at me when eating dried Buffalo meat, salted and hung in the open doors, and unfortunately, it’s just as easy to develop an upset tummy just from feasting off plates that have been washed in untreated water. Here are a few tips to make the dreaded bug a little less potent and certainly helps me out when travelling.
Water Worries: It’s very simple, just don’t drink the stuff out of the tap at all if you have a weak stomach or you’re just worried. Use treated or boiled water to brush your teeth, and try not to get too much in your mouth when taking a shower. It may sound over excessive but the best precaution is over doing it.
Trekker’s Miracle: When asking many seasoned trekkers how they stay healthy while trekking through the Himalaya and dining at local teahouses etc. They often say that having a bottle of coke with all meals is a good way to kill off any bacteria that may be slipping past the radar and into your stomach.
Hand Sanitisers: Fabulous invention, the hand sanitiser that does not require water, is a great way to make sure those germs you have picked up, from perhaps patting a cute puppy on the road to touching untreated water. Remember in Nepal most dogs will be carrying some form of parasite or another. In most cases food poisoning does occur from simply eating with dirty hands.
Ice and Cold Food: Although these days most tourist restaurants will use treated water for their ice, it’s probably better to just avoid ice all together, even in your alcoholic beverage. If you want to drink, then drink bottled beer, or coke and your spirit of choice, no ice. Cold food on the street is pretty much a big no no, if it’s not piping hot or cooking on the spot then don’t put it in your mouth! Also make sure your salad has been washed in treated water if you’re going to eat it.
Peel ‘able Fruit: Another wise choice for untreated water washed fruit, if you can peel it, then you can be more sure you are peeling the possible bacteria off, things like bananas, dragon fruit, oranges and lychees, try to avoid apples unless you wash them yourself with treated water or peel the skin.
Treatment when it’s too late: Most people take something like Imodium with them. In actual fact, this can block up the bacteria along with your embarrassing problem and drag it out longer. Go and see your doctor and ask what’s best for you, most Doctors will give you an actual antibiotic that will get in and solve the problem not trap it. But remember your Doctor is the best person to decide what’s best for you and the above information in merely a guide to possible avoidance to these unwanted travel nasties. Also, drink a lot of treated water and hot water, keep hydrated and wash it out at the same time.
Last but not least, if you’re not sure about where to eat, or what to eat, by no means should you avoid eating great local food, after all it’s all part of the travel experience. A good travel company that is actually based in the country is a great way to go, as they should be able to suggest fabulous and clean local eateries and restaurants. Another good way to tell is if the restaurant is full of locals, it generally means the food is delicious.