Avoiding the Delhi Belly - How Not to Get Sick in India
If you happen to be a regular traveler, it is most likely that you are very well-acquainted with the biggest and most common spoilsport of nearly any trip- the infamous “Delhi Belly”! Also perilously called as “Montezuma’s Revenge”, “Aztec two-step”, “Tourista” or simply, “Traveler’s Diarrhea” (TD), this nearly unavoidable aspect of voyages will keep you on your toes, and very uncomfortably so!
Like many hot popular destinations in Asia, your trip to India may take a sinister turn if you don’t happen to be well-equipped against this travelling malady and it can rob you of much of the joy and fun of what could be a very enjoyable trip. While some lucky trekkers cruise through with intact fitness, Delhi Belly is known to affect at least 30% of travelers. This is expected of nearly all travelers who are not used to spicy and strong-flavored cuisines this peninsular country is so famous for.
But fret not! There is hope. By making a few more preparations before you start and following some cautionary rules, you should be fine. While these tips may not always be a sure-fire solution to this infamous invasion on your innards and may take you by surprise on occasion, it is best you ward off this nasty gastronomical serpent with these potent measures.
Top 10 Tips how not to get Sick when Traveling in India
1. Pack Emergency Medications
Your family physician can help you understand when to take them and in what dosage, and many medicines work as preventive measures. These should include medicines for relief from uncomfortable symptoms, or at least 3-day long antibiotics. It is likely you’ll have to be on them even if you haven’t experienced runny motions yet. This may even include some kind of vaccination. Some over-the-counter medications can help, but it is best you consult a doctor especially if it is your first time to India or any hot country.
2. Water Purifiers And Portable Filters
Some purifiers can be added to your drinking water in very minute concentrations to disinfect it. They can be found in the many shops and markets and they go a long way. Pack one with you instead of looking for them after you arrive at your destination. Another essential item is water bottles with attached filters, like LifeStraw, etc. There are different brands and sizes to choose from.
3. “Boil It, Bottle It, Peel It, Cook It… Or Forget It.”
As the statement clearly states, if you can’t do any of them, it is best you walk on. Boiling your water for at least a minute of two can save you from a lot of stomach-ache. When it comes to bottled water, be extra cautious and check for the authenticity of the seal. You can also arm yourself beforehand by familiarizing yourself with well-known brands of bottled or mineral water so you can pick them with ease. If you must have fruits, generously peel off any outer layers even if they maybe edible. It is also a good idea to carry some dry packed food like dried fruits or ramen noodles in case you feel unsure about dining at your place of arrival.
4. Preventive And Follow Up Measures
Staying hydrated is a must, whether you are fine or have your guts violated. Steer away from open stalls and try to stick with tetra-packed fruits drinks or hot drinks and soups at a good restaurant or café. Carry ORS mix or other dry preparations that you can consume as needed.
5. Do Not Self-Medicate Nor Over-Medicate
Avoid taking more medication than necessary as this can lead to constipation or irregular bowel movements. You can carry prunes and drink plenty of water to avoid this.
6. Trust Your Gut
If something about the food feels off, don’t have it. Since your food can only be as uncontaminated as the last person to handle them, forfeit the food if something doesn’t feel right, even if everything seems fine.
7. Avoid Ice
While a tall chilled drink maybe just what you are craving for, the ice may contain some bugs which may not agree with you. Skip the ice and instead get a chilled and sealed pack of juice instead.
8. Be Politely Picky
When dining in local eateries, choose food that you can witness being prepared in front your eyes. Often overlooked and ignored, a good reason why Delhi Belly crawls through is due to poor handling, unhygienic conditions and of course, contaminated water. Avoid salads and raw foods that you cannot peel or wash.
9. Hot Is Good
Freshly prepared and hot food will keep you on the safe side, as well as steering well clear of street vendors.
10. Step Up Your Hygiene Regimen
Religiously clean your hands before and after meals and any time you come into contact with unclean surfaces. Hand sanitizers can be a blessing to carry around.
Despite the cautionary stories and experiences of other travelers, do not let the fear of Delhi Belly dissuade you from having the best of your vacation in India. With careful packing and following these simple preventive measures, you can safely cruise through your journey and take home wonderful memories!
Before departing we highly recommend you buy travel insurance just to be on the safe side: