Food safety in hot countries.
Does ‘jippy tummy’ really have to be a part of your exotic trip abroad? And how do people who travel to hot countries avoid becoming ill with potentially dangerous conditions such as chronic diarrhoea or dysentery?
This is a very real problem because just one suspect curry can wipe your entire holiday out.
It happened to me when I was working in Bangladesh. Unfortunately, I came home with dysentery and I lost 2.5 stones in weight! I couldn’t take many precautions because I was with a group, and we travelled around the country and had to eat in places that were not as hygienic as we were used to here in the west. I was in a group of about 15, and more than half of us became ill, two ended up in the diarrhoea hospital!
We are spoilt in the west and our sanitized conditions have probably weakened us, making us vulnerable to becoming ill when we go to places with different standards of hygiene.
Here are 5 tips that work if you don’t want to get ill at all:
Avoid meat and fish. Many exotic places have delicious vegetarian food, and it is less likely to be infected with bacteria. Small fish like sardines are safer, but make sure they have been washed properly. (I got very ill once in Portugal on fresh BBQ’d sardines!!)
Only eat food that you know, for certain, has been boiling for 20 minutes. Never eat from a street vendor unless the above points have been observed; if you have to then make sure the stall is clean and busy.
Cold meats, cheeses, creams and sauces (like ketchup) should be avoided at all costs, unless the sauce comes in a sealed sachet. Do not eat salads and never eat a soft-boiled egg.
Bring your own cup, plate and cutlery, even to a restaurant, and if you have got the courage to do this, ask them to use your spoon to dish up your food!! Wash you hands before you eat. In fact you should wash your hands at every opportunity you get. Choose busy restaurants that have a high proportion of locals eating in it.
Drink your own boiled water. Take a special bottle with you, which filter out impurities. See the link below for more information about this. Avoid milk and anything dairy.
These may sound like draconian measures, but believe me they work. I know because they are tips from a friend who stuck to them rigidly when he travelled around India for 6 months and he never became ill – not even once!
Any fresh fruit is fine, as long as you wash it with clean water. Nuts are safe to eat too.
So, to sum up do this: Buy it, wash it, cook it and eat it.
Enjoy your exotic trip – I am really envious.
Filtered water bottle – see more information.
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