Unfair as it may be, the term “Bali Belly” has been commonly used as an alias to “traveler’s diarrhea” (no matter where said person is actually traveling to). Needless to say, an upset stomach is a massive holiday spoiler. So even though there are many recommended…
How to Avoid Bali Belly
Bali Belly is caused by infection of harmful bacterias that enter your body’s digestive system through unhygienic food and water. Your body’s reaction to fight these intruders interfere with your intestine’s ability to absorb water which cause the watery stool. If these bacterias produce toxin, it may also cause vomiting.
Avoiding these unpleasant symptoms means being vigilant about what you put in your mouth and watching personal hygiene, especially hand washing, more than you may do at home. Keep hand sanitizers and wet wipes handy to make sure your kiddos’ hands are always clean.
Don’t Drink Water from the Taps
This may sound like a no-brainer, but don’t forget about the times when you have your guard down. You may accidentally swallow tap water as you gargle when brushing your teeth or opening your mouth in the shower or swimming pool. Most major hotels and accommodations treat their tap water well enough, but you must pay extra attention when traveling to the rural areas. Always keep bottled mineral water in your bathroom at all time and use them when brushing your teeth. For extra measure, you might want to tie a ribbon around the faucet to remind yourself not to use it.
Be Careful of Ice Cubes
The heat will make you constantly crave for cold drinks. Larger establishments are required by law to use hygienic ice cubes so it’s quite safe to order your cold iced drinks there, but smaller ones like the warungs and roadside stalls are still risky. Bottled drinks that are chilled in refrigerators are fine, but avoid drinks chilled in iceboxes as they often use ice made of unhygienic water and the droplets of melted ice can easily gets swallowed when you drink directly out of the bottle.
Also be careful when using drinking straws to consume your drinks. Opt for the individually wrapped ones to ensure hygiene, as straws are washed and reused in some areas. Even better don’t use plastic straws at all to stop single use plastics ending up on the beaches and in the sea!
Only Eat Fruit You Peel & Cut Yourself
Fruits may appear harmless enough, but it’s difficult to make sure they were properly washed with clean water. Ready cut fruit in supermarkets can look clean and fresh, but hygiene standards when using knifes and cutting boards can be seriously lacking. It’s best to buy fruit you can peel yourself.
Go Easy on The Booze
Yes, bottled drinks that are chilled inside refrigerators are okay. But when said bottles contain the local favorite beer Bintang, do drink in moderation. Like any other alcoholic beverages, drinking too much of it will make you woozy. And with a nasty hangover, you don’t really need bacterial infection to feel awful.
Watch the Fried Stuff
Another thing that could be causing that queasy feeling in your tummy is consuming too much fried food, especially if the oil used to fry them is stale. Unfortunately, it is quite common to reuse oil several times in frying. So do avoid having too much fries and chips, especially if you notice an off smell or they taste funny (as indication of rancidity).
Increase Your Body’s Natural Defenses
Friendly bacterias naturally reside in your intestines and act as your personal bodyguards. Make sure they are up and ready to fight intruders by consuming probiotics that adds the number of good bacterias in your body. Come prepared and start consuming probiotics up to a month before your arrival in Bali.
Don’t confuse the body’s normal reaction to a sudden change of diet, especially a diet with heaps of fresh fruit in it, with Bali Belly. A queasy stomach can be a result of a massive diet change in general to a lot more fried foods and rich eating rather than bacteria infection. Change your diet slowly, working from your normal foods to more exotic ones in easy stages and small doses. Within a few days you will be safely ready for anything that exotic Bali can provide for you – except the untreated tap water of course!
While it’s prudent to be cautious and use common sense, do not let a senseless paranoia ruin your holiday. Lots of people go on vacation (and even live) in Bali and never get Bali Belly. There’s no need to be anxious, a lot of it is just common sense. And if preventive measures fail, find out How to Treat Bali Belly.