Food poisoning can be a danger in developing countries, and getting a case of it can ruin your trip. Prevention is the best approach, but many people can be surprisingly careless when it comes to avoiding food poisoning. The tips below may help.
1. Use a Travel Water Bottle
Much of the so-called food poisoning in Asia happens because of water. You should use a water bottle filter to ensure that your own drinking water is clean, and you should use the same water to brush your teeth as well. Be sure to keep your mouth closed in the shower.
Only drinking from your own filtered water does no good if you aren't careful to avoid water in other places as well. Be sure that any plates or utensils you are eating from are dry, and avoid ice in drinks.
It sounds almost too simple to be true, but washing your hands can go a long way toward preventing food poisoning. Money, door knobs and almost anything else you come into contact with can transfer bacteria and viruses to your hands and then to the food that you eat. Soap and water is best, but you can carry an antibacterial cleanser with you for emergencies.
3. Peel or Soak Fruits and Vegetables
It's a hot day, and you're walking around a market where you see a vendor with a pile of juicy delicious fruits. Nothing sounds better than buying it and biting into the fruit then and there, but be careful. All fruits and vegetables need to be peeled or cleaned before eating them. If you are cutting into a fruit such as a melon, keep in mind that any bacteria or viruses on the surface can be transferred to the interior when you slice through with a knife. Furthermore, rinsing fruit and vegetables even in filtered water is insufficient. Produce should be soaked in water treated with a few drops of bleach or iodine for around 20 minutes. You can find exact proportions for various formulations online.
4. Don't Be Fooled By Five Stars
Many people might automatically assume that five-star restaurants in Western-style hotels are safe and street food is not, but this is not really the case. Many a traveler has fallen ill after eating a salad made with vegetables allegedly soaked in clean water at the fanciest tourist restaurant in town. One advantage of street food and more modest restaurants is that you can see the food being handled and cooked and make an assessment about how safe it is.
5. Make Sure Food is Hot
Food needs to be kept piping hot or cooled down and refrigerated. Going over the basic rules of food safety per USDA recommendations can help you learn how to assess how safe food might be. It should not sit out at room temperature for more than a few hours.
Getting sick in Asia is not inevitable, and you should not let concerns about it ruin your trip. With these tips and some good common sense, you should stay healthy throughout your travels.