Food Poisoning and Diarrhoea Prevention When Travelling

The recent outbreak of E.coli in Germany, UK, Denmark, Sweden and now moving to United States is a concern especially for those who travel frequently. Food poisoning and diarrhoea are quite common illness that could happened to anyone when traveling. I feel that having this sickness is even worse than having flu. Because if I am having flu, I still could go about doing my normal activities; though there will be so discomfort such as coughing or breathing. When we are on holidays normally we are in a relaxed and off guard mood; and would liked to eat different exotic food or food prepared in many different ways.  But there are steps that we can take to prevent food poisoning and diarrhoea from happening to us when traveling in a foreign country.

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Fried Noodles with seafood that is well cooked

 

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I remembered vividly an incident of bad food poisoning happened to me.  I was down and out with vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea when I was in Jakarta. I remembered passing out liquid stools 3 times within one hour and vomiting till I have nothing left in my stomach. It was hell and at that time I thought I would collapsed from exhaustion in the hotel room. But I knew what to do as I had previous experience of food poisoning and diarrhoea before. I took the medication which is Smecta and replacement fluid – Pocari which is an isotonic drink throughout the day and night and it worked again. I was well again the next day though still in recovery mode.

Since then, I have stick to a process or best practises with regard to eating food whenever I travel; whether it is for work or leisure.  I have listed the important ones here.

a)  never to eat raw food – whether it is meat, seafood or vegetables ( salad ).

b) not to drink water from the tap.

c) buy bottled water or beverages only from established supermarkets and never buy water from street vendors.

d) eat food that is hot and cooked on the spot when ordered. If I am eating steak or meat, it must be well done.

f) when eating fruits, I would normally choose fruits with skin which I have to peel or cut off like bananas, oranges, mangoes, mangosteen or even durians. I would avoid eating water melons and papayas.

g) always wash you hands and cutlery especially when handling and eating fruits.

h) if I have a feeling that the food or drink that I am about to consume is unclean, I will not eat it – period. I would not compromise even if I have to offend that person who offered this food to me for free.

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Well cooked Fried Eggs added with prawns, mushrooms and vegetables.

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Some of my friends told me that eating fresh vegetables is safe so long as you take the steps to wash and rinse it properly. They recommended that the raw vegetables should be wash and then soak in a water added with white vinegar and salt for at least 30 minutes. Thereafter simply rinse the vegetables again with clean water. This would killed the bacteria that are in the raw vegetables. I have not tried this method yet and I am not sure whether it works. But I know that white vinegar and salt can kill bacteria – but can vinegar and salt eliminate all types of bacteria found in the vegetables – that is still questionable. Well, since this is how my friends prepare their vegetables salads all the time – I think this method should work and the raw vegetables should be safe to eat.

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Smecta Medicine

 

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I understand that there is no 100% fool proof way to prevent food poisoning and diarrhoea; which is why I always bring along medicine with me when I traveling. In case of acute diarrhoea, I would opened up 2 sachets of Smecta, mixed it with mineral water and consumed it.  If the diarrhoea still persist after 4 hours, I would consumed another 2 sachets of Smecta medicine again; otherwise I would normally take this medicine in a 6 hours interval throughout the day. Then I would drink Pocari or any isotonic drink throughout the day/night and take only small amount of dry food such as biscuits – strictly no milk, alcohol or spicy food. Drinking lots of isotonic drink would helped to prevent dehydration in our body. Taking hot rice porridge can also helped to relieve the aching pain in the stomach. Normally this method would work for me and I would recovered the next day. However, if the condition get worse, then the best option is to see the doctor. For those who are less frequent travelers or traveling with kids, it is best to consult your doctor before the overseas trips; they would normally give you the necessary advice and medicine to bring along.

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Smecta Medicine - Effective Relief of Diarrhoea

 

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