Many tourists suffer from problems like upset stomach and similar illnesses by consuming unsafe water and food while traveling. Very few people are have iron stomachs and immune systems better than those special forces soldiers. But for rest of us mortals, a lot of effort is needed for just not getting sick whenever we travel for any period of time.
This is very important people who travel abroad. Tourists will find different benchmarks of hygiene, cleanliness and different pests and germs in different places across the world. Just as an example, communicable diseases like malaria, dengue are almost completely eradicated in developed western nations, but they still claims hundreds of thousands of lives in many other countries across the world, specially in tropics. Although,this can go very detailed, time and space constraints mean that we limit this article to advice related to food and drink related hygiene and safety rules only. These general instructions which true almost everywhere. So let’s begin with
1) Water safety for tourists
Portable filters are another viable option. There are many types of big and small filters available in market. One particular portable filter is as big as a pen and is used as one would use a straw. It’s very lightweight, small and can be carried in a pocket. Additionally, you can use special bottles which come with water filter already fitted in. Most of other filters meant for home use are usually too big to carry around comfortably. If you are not carrying your own water filter, then best options are bottled water, juice or soft drinks, in that order.
b) Bottled Water
Contaminated water is the biggest source of preventable infectious diseases worldwide. A large number of potentially fatal infectious diseases can be prevented from spreading by just using safe water. Fortunately for tourists, it’s quite easy almost everywhere. One of the most convenient and cheapest solutions is to use branded bottled water. It’s easily available almost everywhere. Some people consider it expensive for just ordinary water, but considering the alternative of spending so much money on doctors and medicines, it’s good alternative. Even with bottled water, buy only the original brands and properly sealed bottles. If in doubt, leave it and buy it from some place else.
c) Chemical Filters
There are options for safe water even when you are in a place with no bottled water. Unless you are near a river source with clear fast moving water, glacier etc. you must boil and filter water before drinking. You can use water purifying tablets or drops. Sometimes it causes slight change in taste of water but it’s tolerable.
2) Food Safety for tourists
Observing basic food safety and hygiene precautions can save you a lot of trouble. In general, high end restaurants and hotels are considered cleaner than most road-side street food vendors. But this is not true everywhere. One such example is freshness of ingredients used. Majority of street food vendors prepare their dishes earlier in day or during the work hours and serve them as fresh as possible. On the other hand, large restaurants usually prepare large quantities of their most popular food items or ingredients and store them in refrigerators to be heated up just before serving.
Here are some points for you to keep in mind when eating food in India or almost anywhere else in the world:
Many street food businesses have good reputations among their customers for solid reasons. If you don’t know much about a place, then take advice from your local friends, guides etc . Observing the customers is also a good way of making a choice. A good, safe food seller will have larger number of customers buying food from him compared to a non-trusted one
b) Avoid uncovered food exposed to dust and flies.
Flies and dust are major source of germs. If you see food items exposed to dust and flies, avoid them
c) Use only clean utensils.
Most street food vendors use disposable plate, spoons made of plastic, leaves, cane etc. But if metal utensils are being used, ensure that they are clean first. Use your own wipes, napkins etc to clean them if not sure.
d) Eat fresh
In some places, the food you ask for is prepared right in front of you out of semi-prepared ingredients. Not every vendor brings 100 % read to eat food with him. So, if you see food cooking before being served, it’s very likely that it’ll be fresh. A good food vendor will usually pay heed to your requests and prepare the food exactly to your requirements. But if there are other people waiting, he may have to pay more attention to others.
e) Don’t get confused with food.
People may follow all the obvious precautions related to hygiene and cleanliness, but may still end up with an upset stomach due to some unknown food intolerance or allergy. It can be difficult to avoid such incidents. In case you know about your food intolerance and allergies, confirm with the vendor before eating anything. If this is not possible , try only small portions to check whether you are okay with it. If you have no problems and like the dish, go on to enjoy larger servings. Always keep a basic first aid kit consisting of a few essential medicines for an upset stomach, antacid, antihistamines etc.
We hope this article may prove of some use to tourists searching for simple ways to avoid food or water related illnesses. Contact India Food Tour for questions, feedback or help.