Nobody wants to get hit with traveller’s diarrhoea, whether it be their own or somebody else’s. Really, it ain’t a laughing matter. Fortunately, there are several steps we can take to avoid doing the most unwelcome step of all: The Colorado Quickstep.
OK, I’ve run out of diarrhoea gags so here are some travel tips to help you stay road-fit and avoid the squits.
Pick your Beverage Carefully
As a rule, the following should generally be safe to drink: Commercially bottled water with an unbroken seal, hot drinks made with vigorously boiled water, wine and beer in their original containers (phew), and canned or bottled fizzy drinks.
Always Check the Seals
Ensure the seal on bottled water is intact. It’s not unheard of for more unscrupulous vendors to refill empty water bottles with tap water.
Wipe Around the Lid
Before you drink or pour from any can or bottle, give the lid a good wipe around. Bottles and cans may have been sat in melting ice and water in a cooler bin – this is quite common practice among beach and roadside vendors.
Drink from Original Containers
Any non-disposable crockery (basically anything that can and probably has been washed) could you more at risk. To be ultra safe, consider them unsanitary and use new, clean straws. Better still, stick to original cans or bottles where possible.
If you are uncertain of your water yet that is all there is, boil vigorously (for at least 5 minutes) to purify it. If obtaining either bottled or boiled water is completely out of the question, use both a filter and iodine tablets on your water source.
Don’t be Cool
Avoid ice unless you are certain of its source. In addition, steer clear of fruit juice and drinks made with tap water (such as cordial and real lemonade) to further reduce the risk of suffering from a dose of the squits.
Use bottled water to clean your teeth and rinse your brush, and keep your mouth shut when showering!
Consider Every Meal
When we think of food poisoning, we usually think of dodgy meat – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Steer clear of foods that need to be rinsed or washed in water, such as raw fruits and vegetables with the skin on, and salads. Similarly, consider whether dairy products have been pasturized. Meat-wise, those prone to travel bugs should only eat meat, poultry and fish if they’re certain it’s been well-cooked and is still piping hot. Always cut it open and give it the once-over before consuming.
Stick to Popular Places
Zero in on popular restaurants and busy stalls since they have a higher turnover of food and are less likely to have produce sitting around (and breeding nasties) for lengthy periods. An eatery or stall buzzing with locals should provide a visual vote of confidence.
If you can’t boil it, cook it, or peel it then forget it. Committing this simple rule to memory will help you avoid an unnecessary bout of Montezuma’s Revenge.