Getting sick on vacation happens all too often, particularly when traveling outside of the United States. Bacteria and parasites are common reasons for why travelers get sick. Here are some ways to help you eat safely and avoid getting sick on vacation.
- Most people have heard that you shouldn’t drink tap water in other countries because our bodies aren’t used to it, and it’s true. Drinking water needs to be bottled or boiled. Some people even use bottled water when brushing their teeth to be on the safe side.
- Read reviews or news articles about resorts and restaurants. Some only cook with bottled water, meaning you should be safe to eat anything on their menu.
- Don’t buy food from street vendors, including raw fruit. You don’t know whether or not the food was rinsed with water or has been harboring bacteria for hours. However, if you can peel the fruit (like a banana), the chances of an infection are much lower.
- Don’t drink anything with ice in it unless you know the ice came from filtered water. If you boil water it kills bacteria, but freezing water does not. Remember to ask for no ice in alcoholic beverages as well.
- If you’re drinking a bottled beverage use a straw, because organisms can be on the outside of the bottle opening where your mouth would touch.
- Eat thoroughly cooked foods. Undercooked foods may contain bacteria that could make you ill. That means you should get your meat at least medium-well done on vacation, even if that’s not how you prefer to eat it.
- Some foods like salsa can carry bacteria too, especially when they’re sitting out on a table. If you eat it, just know that there is a chance you could get sick.
- Be wary of airplane food too. Just because you’re on a U.S. airline, it doesn’t always mean the food is prepared by U.S. standards.
- If you do fall sick, stay hydrated! Drink a lot of water (bottled or boiled, of course). You could also try an oral rehydration solution (ORS) for a fast hydration.
A travel protection plan could help you out if you need medical attention on your trip. Find out what coverage is best for you at www.travelinsured.com.