How to Treat Bali Belly
Rehydration is the most important thing. The last thing you want to do is to end up on a drip in the hospital, so you must replace the fluids and salts that you lose. Not eating for a day does not matter so much, but if you do not drink you can become dehydrated quickly, especially in tropical Bali. Drink at least 3 liters of fluid a day. If you can drink water and isotonic drinks like Gatorade and Pocari Sweat. All are easily obtainable in convenience stores like Circle K, Indomaret, or Alfamart.
There are also plenty of stalls selling fresh coconuts. The vendors will cut them open with machetes in front of you. So unless the coconut has been damaged, the water inside is likely sterile and safe to consume.
If You’re Nauseous
Ginger or peppermint candies are quite effective. Freshly made ginger tea at any local cafe is also a great option to settle the stomach.
Try the Local Cure
It is called Norit – black tablets of activated charcoal – which are actually carbons in a extremely porous form to allow absorption of excess stomach gas, chemicals and poison ingested. In Bali it is sold almost everywhere packaged in a plastic tube inside a yellow box. It helps by absorbing the toxin produced by the harmful bacterias, so it’s also useful to treat food poisoning. Unlike antibiotics and anti-diarrhea drugs that could be harmful for children, Norit is considered a very safe product since it is not absorbed into the blood system after ingestion and excess carbons are easily flushed out of the body with a trip to the toilet.
You Can Still Eat
If you are hungry, eat a little. There is no need to ‘rest the stomach’, but try bland foods initially. Simple carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, biscuits, bread or potatoes are often best. Avoid too much dairy food, alcohol, fatty or spicy food while recovering.
Things to avoid when you have Bali Belly:
As mentioned by the Bali International Medical Care (BIMC) Hospital on their website, be sure to avoid:
- greasy fried foods
- soft drinks
- all dairy foods (except plain natural yogurt)
- spicy foods
- excessive smoking
- very hot or very cold food or drinks
Bali Belly Treatment for Kids
Children under 12 pose a particular problem because they tend to become dehydrated more quickly if they have diarrhoea. If the child is vomiting, give little sips of fluid given as often as possible. If your child is hungry, let them eat. Limit dairy products (including formula milk) and fruit juices, as these may not be well absorbed during recovery. Continue to breastfeed on demand, frequently.
Remember that dehydration in babies can set in quickly and be dangerous, so if in doubt, head straight to hospital.
Both for adults and kids, if the symptoms persist, immediately seek medical advice or go to a hospital. For more information on who to call here is our list of emergency contacts.
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