[ back to Travel Health ]

Eat healthy food
Thai street food

Avoiding gastrointestinal illness while travelling

Getting some form of stomach upset is part of travel to many parts of the world. When you are away from home you are exposed to many different organisms that your body is not used to. There are a few traveler's names for an upset gastrointestinal system, such as the "Marrakech Express", "Bali Belly", and "Montezuma's Revenge". Whatever you call it, it is often a very similar problem which can be avoided or minimised by following the guidelines given below.

The Risks:

Foods and water can be a source of contamination and have the potential to make you sick if care is not taken. The main concern when traveling overseas is "travellers' diarrhoea" which can be caused by a wide range of infectious agents. Other problems you might experience include nausea, vomiting and fever. The likelihood of becoming sick while traveling will depend on a few variables:

Reducing the Risks:

There is risk of food and water borne illness everywhere you go, even with local travel. The stress of travel will reduce your defences and immunity thereby increasing your risk. The following are some tips when eating out and preparing food out of your normal environment to help you avoid unsafe food.

Water and drinks:

If there are concerns about the safety of water, always assume the worst.

Food:

If food can be cooked, boiled or peeled it should be ok, otherwise go without.

General hygiene:

What to do if you get sick:

Successful traveling is healthy traveling. To reduce your risk of food related illness while overseas plan ahead and take safe measures while eating and drinking. You will more likely enjoy your stay.