Even the most seasoned of travellers will agree, at some point whilst travelling it is inevitable that you will pick up a stomach bug. Symptoms to look out for include diarrhoea, cramps and bloating, nausea and vomiting, fever, headache and achy muscles. Stomach bugs are most commonly contracted via contaminated food and water so it is vital to be prepared. Here are 5 precautions you can take to try and avoid getting sick!
1) Make sure you only drink bottled or fully sterilised water.
If your in a remote location then boiling water is the single most effective method of water sterilisation and also the cheapest! Yet at times when it might not be feasible to boil water, in which case you can use water sterilising tablets instead. Place the sterilising tablets in the water for around 30 minutes so they fully dissolve and water will be safe for consumption. On the market there are also water sterilising bottles available, which have in-built water filters. These are great for trekking, as you can fill them up in a river or stream and consume the water safely and immediately.
2) Ensure all the food you eat is properly prepared and piping hot.
This is especially important when eating meat based dishes, as uncooked meat can harvest plenty of nasty bugs.
3) Avoid eating cold foods.
Cold foods could have potentially been washed in contaminated water. This includes salad and any fruit that you cannot peel yourself.
4) Hold the ice
Remove any ice in drinks unless you can guarantee the water used is fully sterilised. Don’t just assume that because you are in a good hotel or restaurant that this is the case. Many places will still use the same local water source which could potentially be contaminated.
5) Wash your hands before you eat!
This is one of the most simple and effective methods of keeping safe and yet people tend to neglect this most basic of tasks. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and running water will remove the majority of harmful bacteria. Follow up with use of an alcohol based hand gel to ensure all nasties are eliminated.
If the worst does happen and you get sick, then being prepared will ensure you make a speedy recovery and get the most from your trip. In clinic we sell tummy kits which contain a range of medication to treat mild to moderate stomach bugs. They contain rehydration salts which restore lost minerals, Loperimide which helps prevent episodes of diarrhoea, Buscopan to reduce stomach cramps and most importantly, anti-biotics which treat the source of the stomach bug. If you are struggling to hold down fluids and feel you are becoming dehydrated then you may require more intense treatment so be sure to see a medical professional for assessment. Book a free travel health consultation with one of our specialist nurses to discuss whether a tummy kit would be a useful addition to your packing list!