Nothing is better than travelling.... until you manage to get a pesky stomach bug that ruins you trip half way through. Travel bugs or traveller’s diarrhoea are acquired through the ingestion of contaminated food or water. Below are 5 easy steps to follow while travelling to reduce the risk of catching any bugs while overseas.
- Side – step the tap water- The number one tip to follow when trying to avoid travel bugs. Is to side – step the tap water, this doesn’t just mean drinking water straight from the tap, but also when brushing your teeth, ice in drinks, fresh salads that may have been washed in tap water and fruit juices. This is due to our immune system not being strong enough to fight off the bad bacteria in contaminated water. Easy fixes are things such as bottled water and water purification tablets or bottles.
- Kill those germs– Personal hygiene! Now this may sound silly, but it can be taken for granted in some parts of the world, but no matter where you are you will always stay healthier by keeping clean. This is includes keeping your hands washed, as well as your clothes and avoiding any dodgy food situations. A quick solution to always staying hygienic is by carrying hand sanitiser and wet wipes with you. This means you can stop the spread of bacteria in their tracks and smell nice at the same time.
- Invest in a good probiotic– While travelling, your body will be introduced to unfamiliar germs and bacteria. Consuming probiotics can help you stay regular but will also help with boosting your immune system by colonising the gut with good bacteria. A certain strain to look for when travelling, is Saccharomyces Boulardii. Not only does this strain of probiotic interfere with bacterial colonisation, parasitic infections and travellers’ diarrhoea, but it also can with stand high temperatures, so it is fantastic for travelling, as many probiotics need to be kept in the fridge.
- Avoid high risk foods– Remember to keep in mind food or water quality when entering a country that may have lower standards. The main cause of travel bugs is food borne. This can be caused by raw or minimally cooked meat or seafood, ice, unpasteurised dairy products, reheated food, salads, food which has been left exposed to flies and food prepared in premises with poor hygiene. So sticking to things like dishes that are cooked from scratch with ingredients that are clearly stored separately, cooked vegetables, fruits that can be peeled, looking for vendors and restaurants that are busy (this means they have a high food turn over), and making sure food is piping hot not room temperature (room temperature food, is a theme park for bacteria/parasites).
- Stay Hydrated– Hydration is a key intervention that should be done for all forms of diarrhoea and is often all that is necessary in mild illness. This is because water flushes our systems of toxins. Maintaining hydration when travelling can be done through filtered water, electrolyte drinks, coconut water or even by putting a touch of good quality rock salt in your water bottle.