Traveling is an activity that almost everyone wants to try. After all, you get to go to different locations, see new sights, experience new wonders, and eat new food. But nothing destroys the fun of traveling more than experiencing a bad stomach. It gets in the way of actually going out to see sights, preventing you from partaking in the local cuisine. But why does it happen, and how can we prevent it?
It’s almost a rite of passage for those new to traveling to experience a bad stomach when they first go to a different country. This is often called “traveler’s diarrhea,” and while it may sound funny after the fact, it can be challenging to experience.
There are many reasons why we get traveler’s diarrhea. It could be from the water we drink, the food we eat, or the actual stress of traveling. It is rather futile to pin the blame on the restaurant or establishment we eat at. It comes with the risks of traveling, after all. Unlike having furniture or a car shipped by a reputable company to keep it safe, our own safety is largely our own responsibility when we travel. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent traveler’s diarrhea or ease it if you already got it.
Eat Yogurt and Other Probiotics
Make it a habit to eat yogurt when you travel. This introduces probiotics or good bacteria in your stomach that helps maintain good digestive flow. Different countries often have different probiotic food, and the experience of trying them can be interesting too. However, if you would rather play it safe, store-bought probiotic drinks or yogurt are always an option.
Wash Your Hands
Most forms of stomach diseases are transmitted when we eat with dirty hands. One of the easiest things you can do to maintain cleanliness is to thoroughly wash your hands with soap before eating. Make sure to lather your hands and wrists well for around 30 seconds, scrubbing as you go. Include the back of the hand, between the fingers, and the fingernails as well, as these are commonly overlooked parts where bacteria can stay. If washing your hands with soap is not an option, a hand sanitizer with more than 60% alcohol can work in a jiffy. Make sure you carry a hand sanitizer with you at all times for this very reason.
Stick with Bottled Water for Drinking
Some countries have drinkable tap water; most countries don’t. It’s hard to be sure of the cleanliness and purity of the local water source whenever you’re traveling. While tap may be good for washing hands, it’s not always the case for drinking. If you come from a place where tap water is drinking-safe, your stomach might not have the right gut flora to keep you from getting sick. Luckily, bottled water is always a safe and relatively cheap option. If you are up for it, you can purchase water bottles with filtration systems to avoid having to constantly buy water bottles at convenience stores.
Bring Your Own Kit
Preparation is the secret behind many things, and that includes a great travel experience. Make sure that you have medicine, bottled water, hand sanitizer, and eating utensils with you. This ensures that you have medicine your body is familiar with if you do get diarrhea. The bottled water will help you keep yourself hydrated in places where you don’t have access to secure drinking water, and of course, hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean. Eating utensils, however, are great for moments where you’re not very sure of the cleanliness of the local eating utensils. Always carry a kit with you when traveling. This will minimize any bad experience and will prove useful if you do encounter one.
With these ideas in mind, you can lessen the worry you might have during your trips and ensure you stay healthy throughout.