Health tip: how to avoid food poisoning

Prepare your trip by finding out about the diseases you can catch at your destination. Food poisoning is one of the most common, affecting a considerable number of travellers, especially gastro-enteritis, aka "la tourista". Prevention is of the utmost importance for truly relaxing holidays

Fruit juice, local drinks, typical dishes: there are myriad temptations while away on holiday. Yet, the risk of food poisoning is real in many parts of the world.

To avoid health issues, you need to take a few precautions, especially concerning hygiene. Washing your hands is a good start, but food hygiene is just as important. Food must be cleaned before consumption, prefer drinks in recipients that are closed and avoid high-risk foods such as milk, mayonnaise, raw meat and meat that was cooked a while ago, seafood and shellfish etc. These are all foods which can easily carry bacteria and hence the risk of food poisoning.

NB: be careful of ice cubes in cocktails!

A typical example: la tourista

A relatively harmless intestinal infection, la tourista remains one of the most common illnesses in hot countries. With symptoms like cramp, nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting, la tourista can make holidays quite complicated.

In the event of infection, it can take 3 to 7 days to clear up. Drinking is important and treatment is similar to that for diarrhoea. If the symptoms persist, it is best to see a doctor.

A few tips before leaving:

  • Consult your doctor and your pharmacist who will give you appropriate advice before your departure.
  • Prepare a first aid kit.
  • Take out comprehensive travel insurance with assistance and advance payment of medical expenses.

Once there:

  • Avoid raw food, dairy produce and food containing eggs. Prefer cooked food.
  • Seafood and shellfish are also risky. Only eat them in places you can trust (hotels for example)
  • Wash your hands regularly.
Date of publication Jan 22 2013

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Before the departure: medical precautions
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