Stomach bugs are more common that you think and the chances of falling prey are higher when you travel. You are more likely to catch them in some parts of the world than in others. And nothing can be worse than having your vacation or work trip spoilt by a tiny parasite that makes you sick. So wouldn’t it be better to be aware and take some little precautions to stay safe and have a good holiday? Let’s share a few easy to follow tips that can help you to prevent and deal with parasitic infections when you travel.
1. Eat only at the best places
While traveling to a new city, make sure that you eat only at the best places that serve quality food prepared with fresh ingredients. Read reviews and check out with locals to find out about such joints that serve healthy and delicious food right within your budget. Avoid street food because the chances of contamination are higher due to exposure to dirt, dust and germs.
2. Drink only bottled water
The most common cause of parasitic infections is consumption of contaminated water. This is the reason that you should stick to only bottled water while traveling even to the safest places in the world. Avoid using tap water at all, even for brushing your teeth. If bottled water is not available, you can use boiled water as an alternative.
3. Avoid “danger” foods
Certain foods are “dangerous” because they are more likely to breed parasites. Uncooked meat and chicken, for example, can be the breeding ground for parasites and should be absolutely avoided during travel. If you are consuming raw veggies, make sure that they come from a good source and are washed properly.
4. Wash your hands repeatedly
Another reason that stomach bugs are common in frequent travelers is lack of hand hygiene. Washing your hands repeatedly is important, particularly before and after meals and after using the toilet. Avoid touching contaminated surfaces and wash your hands after every contact. Using a hand sanitizer frequently also helps.
5. Disinfect fruits and vegetables
You may think that buying fruits and veggies from local shops and eating them is safe. But there is a possibility of falling sick if you do not disinfect them before consumption. Start by washing them thoroughly or use a solution of diluted vinegar to be extra sure about disinfecting them. Carry a bottle of vinegar in your traveling kit as it is an excellent disinfecting agent.
6. Try sticking to cooked foods only
While the quality of food matters, cooking technique is also important as high temperatures kill germs. Raw foods can be a culprit when it comes to harboring harmful parasites. On the other hand, techniques like roasting, boiling, grilling and simmering destroy them effectively. Therefore, it is always better to consume well-cooked food while you travel.
7. Have a travel detox plan in place
Though prevention is always the best approach, you should still have a detox plan in place while traveling. Carry some natural parasite cleansing remedies like herbs and supplements to get rid of parasites if you do get infected. Of course, you may carry an anti-parasitic medicine too but natural remedies are always better.
8. Get vaccinated before traveling
If you are going to a place with high rate of infectious diseases or a prevalent epidemic, make sure that you get a preventive vaccination beforehand. Talk to your healthcare provider to get the right advice and vaccine recommendation. Also, ask about the precautionary measures that need to be taken while you are there.
9. Eat only on dry dish-wear
Moisture is a favorable condition for parasites to thrive. Ensure that you eat only on dry dish-wear because these will be comparatively safer. If possible, check the area where the ingredients are stored and food is cooked because dry and hygienic cooking conditions can make all the difference.
10. Do not ignore the symptoms
Another important tip to prevent severe parasitic illness while on holiday or work trip is to be vigilant about even minor symptoms. If you experience diarrhea, nausea, fatigue and restlessness, see a doctor immediately. Timely diagnosis and treatment can prevent parasites from causing severe infections in most cases. Do not make the mistake of ignoring small symptoms.
It is advisable to find out about your travel destination before setting out. Avoid traveling to the areas where you are likely to fall sick. If you must travel there, ensure that you have a precautionary plan in place. Being a smart traveler is always about prioritizing your health and safety.