Food poisoning is the ultimate vacation spoiler. When it decides to attack, there is no partiality shown; be it an adult or even a child. In my experience, children get over food poisoning relatively quickly than adults because they easily get diverted by the joys of traveling.
When we are affected, we get strapped to our hotel bed and it’s a big mood spoiler for others. The entire day plan is derailed when someone in the family falls ill due to food or drink unacceptability. It happens because we are in a foreign city, eating food that is cooked with totally foreign ingredients that our stomach was not fed with before.
Even water or a fruit juice drank from a roadside stall can cause us harm. While it is not possible to bring our home food and gallons of water from our home city while we go on a vacation trip, there are certain precautions if taken at the right time can stave off food poisoning.
Causes of Food Poisoning.
Contaminated food is certainly the prime cause for food poisoning. At times, foods that we have not eaten hitherto can also be the culprit. By contaminated foods, I mean foods that are home to harmful bacteria and or living parasites. Foods that were cooked with expired ingredients can also be a cause of food poisoning. Raw meat (used in sushi) is the most popular cause of food poisoning as it is said to contain Salmonella bacteria.
Meat that is undercooked (not cooked to perfection) will allow campylobacter bacteria to live and can harm us. These bacteria are also found in impure water.
Foods that were not stored at optimum temperature are prone to go stale that we should not eat.
Symptoms of Food Poisoning
Now, how do you point your finger to food poisoning? The foremost and obvious symptom is diarrhea. If it happens along with vomiting, you can be sure of some food or water didn’t go well with your metabolism. Generally, the effects of food poisoning fade in a day or two and no big health risk is involved but your vacation may go haywire.
Avoid Eating The Following Foods That Cause Food Poisoning.
- Never buy those ready to cook and eat processed food at least while traveling. In addition, pre-packed and chilled milk and dairy-based beverages such as milkshakes and smoothies may contain bacteria called ‘Listeria’. Other food items that are a haven to Listeria are frozen meat and soft cheese. I reckon they might not have been properly chilled.
- Say a big NO to beef when on vacation. They are vulnerable to coli bacteria especially when are undercooked in street food stalls.
- Look for expiry date. I know you do that always when you buy food and medicines but during traveling, it might escape your attention. Tell your family member to remind you before your purchase is packed at the billing counter.
- One of my doctor friends warned me not to eat ANYTHING that is not freshly cooked. It means food items at buffet tables that are cooked hours before but kept warming. I think it is a valuable advice.
- If you want to eat fruits, then, avoid fruits that you eat without peeling at the time of eating such as grapes, strawberries, and jackfruit. Eat fruits that you unpeel yourself such as orange or banana. Another sensible precaution-eh?
- Avoid dropping ice cubes on your alcohol or soft drinks. They might have been made using unsafe water.
- Avoid unpasteurized milk and cheese.
Solutions for Food Poisoning
- In spite of your precautionary steps, you may still get ill due to contaminated food or water. It happens, folks! Here are some practical solutions to treat food poisoning.
- Diarrhea or vomiting results in loss of fluids; drink an electrolyte.
- Drink ginger tea, hot and without milk or cream.
- Drink buttermilk.
- Traveler’s diarrhea is generally treated with chewable BSS ( Bismuth subsalicylate) tablets. The common brand for this medication is ‘Pepto-Bismal’. It is basically an antacid.
- You can also consume anti-motion tablets; they are effective and hold you good for a minimum of 24 hours from visiting the restroom.
In my experience, I always travel light both with the luggage and my stomach. I don’t mind even starving than spoiling my vacation and my spouse’s too. I live on juices, coffee, and cakes. Only for dinner, I eat innocuous food such as vegetable salad or fruit salad. I mostly avoid gravy food.