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Food Allergic & Safety
Travellers' diarrhoea is the most common travel-related problem. MD Travel Health defines travellers’ diarrhoea as “three or more loose stools in an 8-hour period or five or more loose stools in a 24-hour period, especially if associated with nausea, vomiting, cramps, fever or blood in the stool.” If you are travelling to areas where good hygiene and sanitation may be a problem, you should be extra careful with food and water.
Many travellers have visited various parts of Indonesia and encountered minimal problems. However, you may still need to take some precautions when consuming food and water in some places, especially when you are getting them from street vendors. Wherever you are, always be sure that the surroundings are clean, the food is thoroughly cooked and the seal on your bottled drinking water is undamaged on purchase.
Fit for Travel has outlined these guidelines to help you prevent travellers’ diarrhoea:
There are some general 'rules' of food and water precautions. While it may not be practical to follow all of these rules, all of the time, applying them where possible will reduce the risk of travellers' diarrhoea.
- Personal hygiene when eating and drinking is very important. Where possible, wash hands prior to handling food, eating and always after using the toilet. Handwashing facilities may be poor or not available when travelling, therefore it is advisable to carry sanitising gel or hand wipes at all times.
- Ensure that clean dishes, cups and utensils are used; use alcohol wipes to clean them if necessary.
- If using street vendors, where possible, choose food that is freshly cooked to a high temperature and served immediately while still hot.
- Cheese and ice cream are often made from unpasteurised milk and when in doubt, these should only be bought from larger, well established retailers where quality can usually be assured.
- Meat should be freshly prepared, thoroughly cooked and eaten hot whenever possible.
- Avoid leftovers or food that may have been exposed to the air for any length of time.
- Fish and shellfish can be hazardous at certain times of the year, even if well cooked. Take local advice about seafood but when in doubt it is best to avoid.
- Vegetables should ideally be eaten when thoroughly cooked.
- Green salads should be avoided as these are easily contaminated by soil or flies and are difficult to clean.
- Fruit (including tomatoes) should be peeled as the skin can be contaminated by flies and insects.
Water and Liquid Precautions
- Water should only be drunk when you are sure of its purity.
- Do not drink unsafe water without boiling, chemical purification or using a reliable filter.
- This applies to water used for making ice cubes and cleaning the teeth.
- Bottled water is usually safe, as are hot tea and coffee, beer and wine.
- Milk should be boiled unless you are sure that it has been pasteurised.
The last thing you want when travelling is to get sick, but you do not want to be too obsessed with travellers’ diarrhoea either that it takes out the joy from your travels. More often than not, according to MD Travel Health, travellers' diarrhoea are “mild and do not require either antibiotics or antidiarrheal drugs.” For your own peace of mind, you may want to take an antibiotic and an antidiarrheal drug along with you. And in the unfortunate event that you do get it, remember to drink a lot water.