ice cream food poisoning

Don’t Eat That! How to Avoid Food Poisoning While Traveling

You have your ticket and a hotel reservation. You’ve packed your bikini, and you’re ready to enjoy a perfect holiday. The last thing on your agenda is to get sick while in paradise. To help you stay healthy and happy, here is a list of easy tips on how to avoid food poisoning while overseas.

How to Avoid Food Poisoning While Traveling

Before you go – You can proactively boost your immunity before you get on the plane thus decreasing your chances of getting sick while away. Keep in mind, a lot of gastrointestinal sickness while travelling is not from eating bad food- it is because the food is different and your body is not used to it. Acidophilus, a probiotic bacteria found in yogurt and other commercial dairy products, naturally occurs in human gastrointestinal tract and helps us digest food with ease. It has also been shown to have a preventive effect against traveller’s diarrhoea. Prepare for your trip by adding an acidophilus supplement to your diet. There are plenty of options available for lactose intolerant people as well.

Cooked food – Most food you eat while traveling will be cooked. Always use your best judgment and trust your instincts. Be wary when buying food from street vendors. Examine their storage, preparation, and cooking facilities and make sure that food is being served freshly cooked – not rewarmed. Be extra diligent if considering ordering fish or shellfish as these are the number one cause of holiday food poisoning.

Raw food – All raw food you eat should be either peeled or shelled by you. Period. This insures that any bad bacteria or mold on the outside doesn’t end up eaten by you. Often, what makes you sick doesn’t make locals sick so they may not be aware of the danger they are putting you in. For instance, a cook may normally washes salad ingredients using tap water. However, that water will make you very sick- even if the water has dried. It’s best to be safe and skip the salad.

Dairy and Ice Cream – In general, avoid dairy and ice cream unless you can verify that it’s pasteurized. Choose creamer and mayonnaise in packets or buy your own at the grocery store. Sadly, it is best to pass on local ice cream as well.

Beverages – Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated but make sure you know where that water comes from. All beverages should be bottled or canned. Be sure and check that the seals are intact as sometimes bottles are reused. Any ice you consume should also be made from bottled water. If you’re not sure then ask. If they are not sure then avoid!

Hygiene – Remember! When travelling, it is doubly important to wash hands thoroughly before eating. Be mindful of what you use to dry them and what you touch between washing and the table. Avoid doorknobs and handling money in particular.

What if you get sick? Regardless of your best precautions you may get sick. Just like at home, stay hydrated, see a doctor, and keep good records of your illness. At the very least, you may be able to receive compensation if the illness was due to another’s negligence (see on holiday claims for more info). Best-case scenario, you will weather the storm and be able to continue with your holiday – granted, a little worse for wear.