Tips & Tricks: How to prevent / cure food poisoning?

Yeah food poisoning may not be your favorite topic when you are thinking about a new trip, but it is something that might occur during travel. As an experienced ‘patient’ I have tested quite a few working and not working ‘curings or prevention strategies’ over time. In this blog I will tell you how to prevent food poisoning otherwise how to fight it.


Prevention is better than curing

Yes off course, that makes sense! But the moment you buy that tasty chicken skewer from the street vendor, you may have forgotten about it. Therefore the following guidelines:

  1. Think about where you eat or drink something

When you are planning to buy some food from a street vender, check if there are enough other people eating at the same vender. If you are the only one and other people avoid this eatery, it often isn’t a good sign. It can mean that the food is not good, or that because of the low turnover, the food is exposed far to long to bacteria. The same goes for restaurants of course. I often read reviews about a restaurant in advance, and sometimes check for the word ‘food poisoning’ in the reviews.

In Argentina I once ate an empanada that had been on the counter all day long and had been reheated several times (I heard later). Well, you can imagine, that empanada caused some miserable days…

2. Think about what you eat.

In some countries the water supplies are not as good as you might be used to. For example, water is not filtered well here, or pumped up from contaminated soil. So be careful with water from the tap, because even if it looks clean, it doesn’t always is clean. Don’t drink tap water (and don’t open your mouth while showering!) and check at a restaurant if the ice cubes are made of tap water or mineral water. Do you order a salad or raw vegetables? Realize then that there is a chance that the vegetable is washed with tap water. Sometimes it is therefore easier (and safer) to eat fried or cooked vegetables.

I myself don’t eat meat, but meat can be a source of bacteria, especially if it is not well cooked or not well-cooled. And the same applies to fish or shellfish. As much as I like the latter, if I don’t completely trust it, I avoid eating it.

And finally, be careful with ice creams and especially soft ice cream. In warm countries it is delicious to eat an ice cream in its time, but ice cream often has milk or cream as a base, a good breeding ground for bacteria. When it is not properly cooled, or goes through uncleaned equipment (soft ice cream), you can get really sick of it.

Marokko - Ecolodge breakfast

3. Make sure to have a calm belly: my golden tip!

Uh yes how? A ‘calm belly’ may sound very stupid, but I often notice that because of a jet lag, a different climate and other food, my stomach is not calm at all.

A tip that I got from my nephew Ruben, and which is really helping me, is the preventive using of Okugest (no, this is not a sponsored post). Okugest is a homeopathic medicine that helps with nausea or bloating. I use this preventive and take a pill before and sometimes after the meal. With this I keep my stomach calm and I have the idea that there is a kind of basic resistance. In the four months we traveled full-time, we used this every day and we didn’t get food poisoning once. Also during our next trips, we used this. In Morocco I eventually got food poisoning, but it was so much less severe than all my other times, that I have the idea that Okugest even reduces the severity of food poisoning.

Maybe it’s a placebo, but for us Okugest works well, so it might help you too!


You did get food poisoning? These things help me!

Ohno, you did eat something bad and now you are feeling horrible? The following things help me.

Medicines

When I have diarrhea which hasn’t stopped after a day, I use Imodium or Norit. Next to that I take paracetamol for the fever which might accomplish the food poisoning. I try to avoid Ibuprofen because this sometimes has an aggressive effect on my stomach.

In addition, I drink water with ORS. This is a mix of sugar and minerals (such as salt) that I use to supplement my fluid loss. This way I prevent dehydration.

Finally, many countries have their own herbal teas that can help calm your stomach during food poisoning. In the past I drank, among other things, ginger tea and tea with thyme. It helped calming down my stomach and next to this it make sure I hydrate again.

Eat Drink:

It is important to drink immediately enough during a food poisoning since you lose lots of fluids. After the first day of a food poisoning, I try to slowly start eating something. I only eat things that I have some appetite for. Usually this is toast, crackers or a little vegetable broth. I avoid fruit in the beginning because the acid in fruit can be aggressive to your stomach. I also avoid dairy products since apperently during a food poisoning you are temporarily lactose intolerant.

Toilet knowledge

After so many times of food poisoning, I consider myself a real expert. There are few trips where I didn’t spend some days on or above the toilet … so well, then it is important to have a nice toilet. In most places where I had food poisoning, I was quite lucky with that toilet. I have had few shared bathrooms or toilets that were dirty, too small or worse, where there was no toilet. Ries, on the other hand, has the habit of getting food poisoning during multi-day hikes where you sleep with locals. Well, besides feeling very encumbered to these sweet local families, also the lack of real toilets or toiletpaper make you very unhappy.

Moral of the story: do you have the idea of ​​getting food poisoning? Go for a slightly more luxurious hotel with private bathroom. Are you going to hike? Then take an extra roll of toilet paper!

In general, food poisoning takes a few days, and then you get rid of it. If it persists longer, consider consulting a doctor *.


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How to prevent and cure food poisoning!


* Please note: we are no doctors and do not give medical advice. All the ideas mentioned above are our own experiences that we would like to share with you, because it might help you.

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