independent

Monday 16 September 2019

Food and water contamination are two of the biggest causes of illness

ONE OF the big reasons for travel is experiencing different cultures and customs. A big part of this is sampling the various culinary delights that the country you're visiting has to offer. However it is important to be careful when doing so, as food and water contamination are two of the biggest causes of illness in holidaymakers and travellers.

The last thing you want is to be struggling with an upset stomach when you could be enjoying the sun and taking in the sights. There is risk of food and water borne illness everywhere you go, even with local travel. The stress of travel will reduce your defences and immunity increasing your risk.

The most common infections for travellers, including bacterial dysentery, Escherichia coli, giardiasis, shigellosis and noroviruses, are caused by consuming inadequately prepared and treated food and water.

While travellers visiting countries with relaxed sanitary conditions can find themselves at risk of developing infectious diseases including typhoid fever, cholera, rotavirus infections, and other samonelloses, the most common infection for travellers remains traveler's diarrhea (TD). More than 20% of travellers and holiday makers contract TD each year, though it can easily be prevented by adhering to a number of food and water safety practices.

For food consumption, travellers should avoid all raw foods, especially in developing countries. Condiments, particularly the likes of mayonnaise should be avoided if at all possible and all meats should be ordered medium to welldone in areas where you think you may be at risk. You should also be sure to avoid all shellfish that may not be cleaned or cooked properly and at all costs try to avoid purchasing food from street vendors.

In relation to beverages, try to only consume drinks that are sealed in bottles and containers if at all possible and be sure to clean the tops of all bottles and containers before use. Avoid using tap water, even for brushing your teeth, in areas where you feel you may be at risk and if necessary be sure to boil treat the water before consumption.

If you do end up getting sick while abroad and a doctor is not available, make sure to drink plenty of fluids to rehydrate yourself. Stick to a bland diet while you are recovering and try and get some rest.

Think about what you have eaten in the last couple of days and try to avoid these foods and warn others against them.

It's never nice being sick when you are on holidays, but if you follow these simple steps, hopefully you will avoid illness and enjoy the sun, sea and sights wherever your travels take you.

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