If you don’t know what Bali Belly is, I’ll just leave this link here and let you read about it.
Most of you know it though – maybe by another name? Delhi belly? Montezuma’s revenge? Whatever name you know it by, we can all agree that it’s not very pleasant and we ALL want to avoid it.
I can proudly say that I avoided it on 1 trip to Malaysia, 2 trips to Bali, 1 trip to Thailand…. but not this time my friend. Bali belly got me good. I honestly thought I was dying. I’m not going to go into the details, but now I basically feel like it’s my responsibility to spread the good word, a public service announcement if you will, on how to AVOID Bali belly and ensure you all have a healthy, enjoyably and SAFE holiday.
Do not drink tap water!
Only drink bottled or filtered water. In these days of a growing plastic free society I can understand the desire to bring a reusable bottle with you where ever you go, I support that. What you might like to do is invest in a self filtering bottle like this one. This is just an example, there are many brands out there. I myself use a plastic Puma bottle I got free from an online store a trillion years ago. Here in Bali, Matt and I get a “gallon” water bottle for our hotel room, and just swap it out whenever we need. Super cheaper and more environmentally friendly than a bazillion plastic water bottles.
And don’t forget; your tea, coffee, juices and smoothies are included in this category. Make sure they’re made using boiled or bottled water.
Avoid ice in your drink!
Talking of water, guess what ice is made out of! That’s right, your sun downer cocktail could be your ticket to 3 days of unhappiness. Unless you know your ice comes from a reputable source, just ask for it without. You can often tell whether ice has been purchased from a reputable bulk service by the holes in the middle.
Fruits and vegetables
This one is a hard one; have your fruit and veg been washed in bottled or boiled water? That healthy salad you’re eating might’ve been washed under the tap water just before it was served up to you. Basically your safest bet, as sad as it might be, is to just eat cooked food.
Only eat fresh food
Make sure your food is fresh, hot and well cooked. Don’t eat food that has been sitting around for ages, reheated, under cooked or just doesn’t taste right. This might mean eating at restaurants with a high turnover. If you’re being ultraconservative, you might want to avoid chicken.
Wash your hands
An obvious one, but had to be said. Wash your hands regularly, especially after using the bathroom and before eating.
Take a probiotic
I swear by this one, this trip is the only time I haven’t taken a probiotic, and I got sick. You can buy them for pretty cheap these days, and they won’t break the bank. Get the non-refrigerated ones, and begin taking them prior to your travels.
And what if I get sick?
If the unthinkable happens and you do get sick, do the following
- Drink all the water – try your best with this one, it’s the most important.
- Drink electrolytes – I travel with a powder additive, but you can always get a powerade or similar. You can also give coconut water a go too.
- Eat easy to digest foods – a bit of boiled rice or dry crackers if you can.
- Rest – sleep makes everything better.
- Charcoal tablets – helps absorb and get rid of the nasties in your belly.
There comes a time though, when you have to make the call to visit your doctor. If there’s no noticeable improvement of your condition within 24 hours, if you can’t keep fluid in, if you have constant headaches or cramping, get to the doctor. Don’t wait, dehydration can be a nasty thing. Don’t put off making that decision either – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Now don’t let this scare you away from all the fabulous countries or the delicious food out there, just be smart about where you get your food from, and what you eat. You wouldn’t eat at a buffet where the food sat out in the sun for an hour, so why would you do that in Bali.
Have you ever had Bali Belly or similar? What are your go to tips and tricks?