How to Prevent Travel Sickness and Food Poisoning

foodsafetybhpLet the traveling season begin! With July 4th behind us, many take to the hot Summer months of July and August to get away for a bit and head off on vacation. Some choose a cruise, a trip to the islands, or a stay at home respite. Doctors, over time, have believed that the body is especially vulnerable to sickness while you are on vacation and supposedly “getting away from it all.” Unfortunately, bacteria and viruses can not only follow you on to your destination, but new ones can meet you when you arrive.

The Independent Traveler has recently put out an article guiding those who fear foodborne illness can spoil your much anticipated, and already paid for, vacation. The first thing to understand is that the food in your home isn’t necessarily “safer” than food abroad, but it’s the fact that your body is more accustomed to it. One important difference between home-grown and foreign foods is the use of more "natural" fertilizers abroad, which can carry bacteria that could cause intestinal distress -- also known as traveler's tummy.

The article goes on pointing out some of the most common foodborne illnesses including salmonellosis (caused by salmonella bacteria), E. coli infection and norovirus. Your best defense against foodborne illnesses is not to panic, the article suggests, but to use common sense.

What not to Eat (or drink)

  • The most common dietary problem with traveling is drinking the water, including ice.
  • Cold meat, cheeses, and open buffet foods are often home to a number of bacteria.
  • Seafood dishes are notorious for cause intestinal problems as well
  • Unpasteurized products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt (unless label says pasteurized)

What to eat (and drink)

  • Bottled water
  • Fresh food such as fruits and vegetables
  • Pasteurized dairy products
  •  Nuts and shelled food
  • Order meats “well done” or “medium well”

While much of the above is common sense, as we said, you’d be surprised how many people can forget about the little things while out on vacations.

Contains excerpts from Independent Traveler, Food Safety: How to Avoid Getting Sick While Traveling article.