How To Avoid Bali Belly

Bali Belly
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Are you traveling abroad and worried about the traveler’s diarrhea? Want to know what steps you can take to avoid Bali belly or traveler’s diarrhea?

Traveling can impact our body’s digestive system by exposing them to new and foreign bacteria. Our guts and bodies aren’t always used to these new bacterias, and sometimes our bodies reject them. This causes us to get sick.

Practicing better traveling habits by slowly letting your body build up foreign bacteria can help to prevent unnecessary trips to the bathroom and vacation days lost having to stay close to a toilet.

Here are a few steps that you can take to help you avoid Bali belly or traveler’s diarrhea.

10 Easy Steps To Take to Avoid Bali Belly or Traveler’s Diarrhea

  • Drink Bottled Water- Avoid using and drinking tap water whenever possible. Even if the locals are drinking it that does not mean that it is safe for you to drink. Their bodies are used to the bacteria, whereas ours are not. I even recommend using bottled water when brushing your teeth, especially if you are extra sensitive and get sick often.
  • Only Eat At Places With High Turn-Over- Eating street food does not make you sick, however, eating in restaurants with low turn over will. You want to eat fresh food, not food that has been sitting in a refrigerator for days. Street food is generally always fresh and empty restaurants are not. Also, it is a good idea to avoid specials since they tend to be food that is about to expire and restaurants are trying to get rid of.
  • Eat Local Yogurt When Arriving- A good trick when traveling is to eat local yogurt when arriving in a new country. This will help expose your gut to good local bacteria. Exposing it to good bacteria will help with fighting off the bad bacteria.
  • Avoid Buffets-  If you are going to get sick, it is most likely going to be from a buffet as food tends to sit there for long periods of time. You also don’t know how long the food has been sitting there at dangerous temperatures. There is also a higher chance of germ exposure to your food when it comes in contact with more people. Try to avoid buffets when possible.
  • Avoid Drinks With Ice Unless They’re Made From Filtered Water- Nowadays most ice is filtered, but you can never be too safe. If you want to avoid traveler’s diarrhea, ask for your drink with no ice or ensure that the restaurant is using filtered water to make their ice. A good trick know is that most filtered ice has small divots in it.
  • Only Drink Tea or Coffee From Bottled Water- If you are ordering your coffee or tea from a local establishment, be sure to ask what kind of water they use. Even though boiling water tends to kill all bad bacteria in the water, there is a chance that some bacteria survived. It is a good habit to only drink coffee or tea made with drinkable water.
  • Be Cautious Of Cross-Contamination With Raw Foods- Cross-contamination is the number one cause of foodborne illness, especially with raw foods. All it takes is someone in the kitchen not washing a knife or cutting board properly to spread foodborne bacteria.  Be selective about where you eat your fruits and salads. Make sure to only eat your fresh greens in an establishment where you know they will be washed with bottled water and where you know they are practicing good hygiene in the kitchen. It is usually a good sign when you can see into the kitchen, it shows that the restaurant has good hygiene and most likely keeps its kitchen clean at all times.
  • Use Hand Sanitizer- When traveling there is not always a sink to wash your hands after using the bathroom. Plus your hands are touching more surfaces than they normally would back home and you are more exposed to foreign bacteria. It is always a good idea to travel with and use hand sanitizer, it will help prevent you from getting sick. I always travel with some.
  • Beware of the Rice- Rice is more likely to get you sick than meats and veggies. This is because it has a high pore surface and collects foodborne illnesses. Rice should never be reheated more than one time, and if you are reheating it you need to ensure you heat it to the proper temperature (165 degrees) to kill off all bacteria that could have grown on it. When traveling it is a good idea to avoid restaurants where they might be reheating their rice. To learn more about rice and why it is likely to get you sick you can read about it here
  • Avoid Pre-Cut Fruits- As pretty and easy as they might look, you should avoid buying and eating pre-cut fruits. This is because you do not know what water they used to clean the fruits, or how clean their knife was when cutting the fruits. It is always better to buy your own and cut them yourself.

Bali Belly Symptoms

It’s normally pretty easy to tell if you have picked up Bali belly or traveler’s diarrhea. Some of the symptoms you may experience are:

  • Loose or Watery Stools
  • Frequents Trips To The Bathroom
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Appetite And Thirst
  • Mild Temperature

Bali belly or traveler’s diarrhea doesn’t usually last that long. You should be fine in a couple of days. If you experience diarrhea for longer than a few days it could be something worse and you should seek help from a professional medic.

Also, if you notice any blood in your diarrhea or you are experiencing a high fever and significant abdominal pain, it can indicate more serious illness and you should consult a medical professional immediately.

How To Get Rid Of Bali Belly

Dehydration can be a major issue if you are suffering from Bali belly or traveler’s diarrhea. Be sure to drink plenty of water or fluids.

Coconut water is great way to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated can help you flush all the bad bacteria out and help you to get back on track and enjoying your vacation in no time. Here is a list of other great liquids you should try drinking to help get rid of traveler’s diarrhea include:

  • Pedialyte
  • Gatorade
  • Coconut Water
  • Bottled Water
  • Avoid Caffeinated Drinks and Alcohol

It is also a good idea to limit your intake of dairy and also avoid spicy foods until you are back on track. Being sick on holiday is no fun, and you want to ensure that you recover as fast as possible so you can get back to enjoying your holiday.

If you are looking for fun things to do in Bali, check out my blogs on Nusa Penida or hiking Mount Batur 

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