Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How To Avoid Delhi Belly

Traveller's Tummy, Cairo Curse, Montezuma's Revenge, Biological Pressure and good old Delhi Belly. Those and other more repulsive phrases are usually described in way too much detail in many a traveller's tale of adventure in far flung places. This happens to such an extent that most people believe a short trip to India or Egypt will have the same effect on their waist line as a year on the Atkins diet. Not true! try eating Indian food three times a day here for two weeks and then struggle with those tight jeans that you will not throw away because one day you'll be slim enough to fit them again. No better not, it will depress you and you'll head straight to the biscuit tin for comfort. I digress, back to the Aztec Two Step. You see travelling to countries with such bad intestinal reputations need not mean a fortnight on the thunderbox. There are a few things I can recommend to help prevent you having to experience such a nightmare when you are supposed to be on a holiday of a lifetime.

We all know how important it is for us and are constantly nagged by medical professionals to drink lots everyday. Well I'm going to nag you to drink even more when you are travelling. If you are travelling in a country where you shouldn't drink tap water you should be able to find clean bottled water almost everywhere. Drinking clean water keeps your body strong and healthy and in better condition to fight off any nasties that get inside you.

Hand Hygiene
Some traveller's carry with them antibacterial hand wash which is not a bad idea. Remember you can pick up nasties on your hands from many different things such as money or a handshake. If you think you have dirty hands wash them. Also try not to bite your nails if that's your habit.

Eating with the locals
Eating in good local restaurants or street food shouldn't be avoided on the contrary it should be part of your travel experience. I like to ask a local for a good recommendation or look for somewhere busy where food is being prepared fresh, fast and hot. In my opinion many hotels "bland" food down for the foreign palate and prepare buffet food hours in advance.

Eating with your hands
Eating with your hands is one of the most amazing sensual pleasures that you can experience - and write about on a family travel blog. To enjoy a meal using all your senses breaks down barriers and leaves not only your tummy satisfied but your whole being. If you see the locals eating with their hands join them - but wash them first please.

Hygiene Paranoia
No matter what you do you will never stop germs getting into your system and in my opinion it's a good thing for your body to get used to a few "local" germs. I've seen travellers before being over cautious and putting antibacterial lotion on everything and eating very plain food. They all came down with tummy problems that were quite severe. A coincidence?

If you do get it?
Hopefully if you have been drinking plenty of water your body is in a better position to fight whatever nasty has set up shop in your belly.

Can you see a theme developing here? Put back whatever fluid has come out and more. Most pharmacies will stock electrolyte solutions to replace salts and minerals, read the instructions, use them they work.

There is a whole debate about the helpfulness of medicine that stops your runny tummy. In my travels I stay clear of it. I feel that the reason your body gives you diarrhea is that it wants whatever is bad inside you out. These medicines do not allow that instead keeping it inside building up and festering -holds his breath and waits for the Imodium lawyers to phone-

If you think you need to see a doctor get one reccomended. Hotels will have doctor's contact details that have treated travellers before.

Travelling on one of Travel Light's escorted adventures gives you the benefit of travelling with a tour leader that knows the best restaurants and what will keep you healthy travelling in that country.

Travel Light Reading - Travel Light has not read this book
There's No Toilet Paper... on the Road Less Traveled
This collection captures the wackiest experiences of writers whose travels took a detour, such as Dave Barry vainly trying to learn more Japanese than how to order a beer, and Mary Roach, who discovers that utilizing an Antarctic outhouse at the very moment a seal chooses to use its opening as a blowhole may not be the best way to start the day.

1 comment:

The Neals said...

Great post, thanks for the entertaining read!