Ways to Avoid Food Poisoning and Diarrhea During a Holiday
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How To Avoid Food Poisoning and Diarrhea During A Holiday Trip?

Published on Nov 12, 2014 and last reviewed on Aug 01, 2023   -  4 min read


Food poisoning and diarrhea are the most common health problems when traveling and visiting a new place. The below article details the same.

How To Avoid Food Poisoning and Diarrhea During A Holiday Trip?


Food poisoning and diarrhea are the most common health problems when traveling and visiting a new place. Of course, nobody wants to be laid up with diarrhea and food poisoning on holidays. But it happens to many holidaymakers each year.

Food poisoning can occur when the food or drink gets contaminated with bacteria, parasites, or viruses. Food poisoning can also happen when certain foods have not been appropriately cooked or someone consumes food past its expiry date. In addition, certain places have poor sanitation, allowing the water to become contaminated and causing diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid, and cholera. Even the ice in a drink can be sufficient to make one unwell. A mild case can improve in a few days, but a more severe attack requires medical assistance. Thankfully, there are a few steps to avoid food poisoning and diarrhea on holiday.

What Are the Different Ways To Avoid Food Poisoning and Diarrhea During a Holiday Trip?

  • Choose Hot Food: Very hot temperatures kill any bacteria lingering in the food, while uncooked, cool, or lukewarm food is more likely to harbor growing germs. Therefore, while traveling, choose food that is piping hot.

  • Be Cautious About Water: Be cautious about water due to the higher likelihood of it containing harmful bacteria. Always drink clean, safe water sources like bottled or filtered water, and ensure to order at restaurants. If the food is eaten raw and it needs to be washed, steer clear. One can also chemically disinfect water with iodine or chlorine. Iodine is more effective but useful for short trips, as too much iodine can harm the system. Purchase water-disinfecting tablets that contain iodine, chlorine, crystals, or other disinfecting agents.

  • Be Careful of Dairy, Meat, and Seafood: Although it is true that any contaminated food or drinks can cause food poisoning, dairy, meat, and seafood can be particularly problematic if they are not stored appropriately or if they have been defrosted and then re-frosted. If someone is keen on trying street food, ensure that any uncooked meat and seafood is kept cool and covered. To know whether or not dairy products are safe to eat, check their consistency and shape. In addition, stale dairy products usually smell and taste sour.

  • Wash Your Hands: Even on holiday, it is still important to practice good hand hygiene. If you have been out for a holiday and are exploring the sites, people may get a lot of germs on their hands. Do not contaminate your food. Wash your hands thoroughly before eating, or use hand sanitizer to ensure that your hands are clean.

  • Fruits: Fruits can look tempting, but because they are grown near ground level, they have a higher risk of contamination from the soil. Wash them thoroughly to avoid such contamination.

  • Salad: Salads, if not washed, can pose a risk of food poisoning. It is also wise to avoid salad leaves altogether.

What Other Precautions Can Be Taken?

Additional Tips:

Besides avoiding certain foods, there are several things that one can do to prevent food poisoning and diarrhea on holiday:

  • Seek out food items that need little handling in preparation.

  • Ensure that the dishes and utensils are clean and dry before using them.

  • Wash your hands always and often before eating. If washing is impossible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60 % alcohol to clean your hands before eating.

  • Beware of eating sliced fruit that may have been washed in contaminated water.

  • Avoid locally made mixed fruit juices or ice cubes made with tap water.

  • Give only bottled or boiled water to children.

  • Order hot drinks, like coffee or tea, and ensure they are steaming hot.

  • If possible, use bottled or boiled water to brush your teeth.

  • Keep your mouth closed while showering.

  • Avoid swimming in water that can be contaminated.

  • Only use wrapped straws for drinks.

  • Buy packaged foods if self-catering.

  • Take a probiotic for a couple of weeks before the trip, as it can line the stomach with 'friendly' bacteria, strengthening the immune system and assisting with digestion.

  • Keep medications such as diarrhea tablets, Paracetamol, and rehydration sachets handy if food poisoning or diarrhea strikes to help ease the symptoms.

  • Always carry at least two packs of ORS (oral rehydration salts) with you whenever you are away from home to a new place, whether the journey is by bus, train or an aeroplane. ORS is an economical and life-saving product that will give you energy and maintain your body's electrolyte balance in case of food poisoning (diarrhea, dysentery, or vomiting). ORS will keep you safe until you get medical help. People with diabetes must seek immediate medical help in case of diarrhea because ORS also increases blood sugar, so it should be monitored in people with diabetes.

  • If you are going to a certain place, consider what to expect from the food and water supply and think ahead.

  • Keep infants from crawling or sitting on the ground.

  • As a preventive measure, some doctors recommend taking bismuth subsalicylate, which can decrease the chance of diarrhea. However, do not take this medication for more than three weeks, and do not take it during pregnancy or if allergic to Aspirin. Bismuth subsalicylate has side effects such as a black-colored tongue and dark stools. In some cases, it can also cause nausea, constipation, and, rarely, ringing in your ears (tinnitus). Speak to a doctor before taking bismuth subsalicylate if you are taking certain drugs, such as anticoagulants.


Food poisoning and diarrhea are unpleasant side effects of travel. Most of the time, these problems are not serious and get better quickly. Although one cannot always prevent food poisoning, there are a few ways to reduce the risk. Applying some common sense can minimize the risk of falling ill. For example, practicing good hygiene and being careful of what you eat and drink on holiday.

Frequently Asked Questions


How to Prevent Traveller’s Diarrhea?

For the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea, an oral rehydration salts (ORS) solution is the best method to replace the lost fluid. These solutions contain salts and water in specific proportions to replenish electrolytes and other fluids. They also contain some amount of glucose to enhance absorption in the intestinal tract.


Do Probiotic Helps Prevent Traveller’s Diarrhea?

Probiotics supplement help in easing digestive system issues. They should be started two weeks prior to the planned travel. It helps to ensure good health and optimize immune function while traveling.


Is There Any Possible Method to Stop Food Poisoning Before It Starts?

The possible methods to stop food poisoning before it starts are by washing the hands regularly and washing fruits and raw vegetables. Staying hydrated is the best way to protect ourselves from food poisoning. Outside street food should be avoided during rainy seasons as it gets contaminated easily.


How Quickly Does Food Poisoning Occurs?

The food poisoning symptom begins about 6 to 24 hours after exposure. Diarrhea and stomach cramps are the common symptoms of food poisoning. It begins suddenly and lasts for about less than 24 hours.


How to Know It Is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning can be recognized by the symptoms such as dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dry mouth. Diarrhea can last for three days, and dehydration may lead to dizziness. The person may have frequent episodes of vomiting and may feel tired even without working.


Can Food Poisoning Spread to Other People?

Food poisoning is usually not contagious. Few foodborne illnesses can spread from animals to humans. Some foodborne illnesses due to viral and bacterial infections can be contagious. It can spread to another person by having the same infected foo


How to Test for Food Poisoning at Home?

Food poisoning can be self-determined or tested by analyzing the signs and symptoms associated with it. Signs and symptoms that appear are nausea, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.


Can Food Poisoning Occur Without Vomiting?

Vomiting is the protective mechanism that occurs when the body gets rid of toxins or get rid of the dangerous organism. Food poisoning often results in projectile and forceful vomiting. In some cases, the vomiting subsides, while in other cases, it is a protective mechanism.


What Is the First Step in Treatment of Poisoning?

The person should be kept in the open and fresh air as soon as possible. If the person suffers from vomiting, his head should be turned to the side to prevent choking. If the vital signs are much affected, and the person cannot breathe, then cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should be performed.


What Food Can Lead To Traveller’s Diarrhea?

Junk food or contaminated food is the common cause leading to traveler’s diarrhea. Bacteria present or formed in the food is the common cause of diarrhea. Raw food, undercooked food, and dairy should be avoided while traveling.


How Long Does Person Suffer From Traveller’s Diarrhea?

The person suffers from traveler’s diarrhea for one to two days with treatment and recovers within one to two weeks. The person can get multiple episodes of diarrhea in a single trip. Most cases of food poisoning are mild and last for a few days.


Does Probiotics Help in Treating Traveller’s Diarrhea?

Probiotics help in providing relief from traveler’s diarrhea. They are usually precautionary measures while traveling. Some of the studies suggest that probiotic benefits in the prevention of acute infection like diarrhea.


Why Does It Feel Better When the Person Throws Up?

Before throwing up, the body starts producing extra saliva that helps the teeth to protect against the strong acid. Vomiting is a protective mechanism that releases a chemical that makes the body feel better. Water or ice cold drink consumption can provide relief after vomiting.


Should a Person Drink Water After Throwing Up?

Hydration is the main focus after a person vomits. The water should be drunk in small sips every 15 minutes for about three to four hours. The water used for consumption should be clear water instead of carbonated or caffeine drinks.


Why Does It Feel Better When the Person Throws Up?

The various signs of dehydration are dry mouth, no tears when crying, sunken eyes, cheeks, extreme thirst, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and dark-colored urine. The most common signs of dehydration are vomiting and nausea. Dehydration can occur at any age and affects people who do not drink enough water.

Last reviewed at:
01 Aug 2023  -  4 min read




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