Dealing with Food Poisoning When Travelling
Until I came to Indonesia, I don’t think I’d ever had food poisoning (and I think I would have known about it if I had, wouldn’t I?). I’ve always prided myself on having quite a strong stomach that can handle anything. Well, all of that changed, on mine and Jimmy’s second night in Yogyakarta.
I shouldn’t pass blame, but it was Jimmy’s turn to pick a place to eat, since I had picked somewhere too overpriced for our modest budget the night before. Anyway, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. It was late when we went out to eat and we were staying on a street with few food options. We ended up at a fried chicken fast food place. I was not happy. I was even less happy during the night, and the next few days when we were both ill. Luckily for us, the offending chicken portions were small, so we didn’t eat too much of it. Even luckier for me, the rat I saw running across a pipe at the front of the restaurant put me off even more, so I left a lot of my chicken.
Food poisoning is really awful, no matter where you are. Food poisoning when you’re travelling is horrendous. You’re away from home comforts and familiarity. You’re in a strange bed (sometimes very uncomfortable, sometimes in a room with seven other people), and there’s a strange bathroom (although not so unfamiliar after bout of sickness). It’s not easy to find or make the simple food you want and need.
These are my tips for coping with food poisoning when you’re travelling:
Try to avoid having to travel or move anywhere. We were lucky that we were staying in the same hostel for three nights. This gave us time to rest and get over the worst of it, before we had to move. I know this isn’t always possible. Try to be prepared if you have to travel: stay close to a toilet, carry toilet tissue, a sick bag, whatever you need.
Drink lots of water and some sports drinks. Even if you are sick or have to use the toilet afterwards, you should make sure you don’t become dehydrated. I made sure I drank lots of water and some Pocari Sweat to replace the electrolytes I’d lost.
Stay away from coffee and alcohol. Stupidly, Jimmy and I thought we were better after a couple of days and we agreed to meet a friend for a couple of beers. Even though we only had two beers, we regretted it the next day. We felt just as bad, if not worse than we had at the beginning.
Try to cheer yourself up with some sort of home comfort. I’m a very bad patient when I’m sick. I always feel so sorry for myself. I made myself feel a bit better, if only temporarily, by watching Family Guy.
Eat bland, easily digestible food. Various websites suggest you should try to eat food you can digest easily, depending on the type of food poisoning you have. If you are vomiting, just drink.
Go Girl Guides have some good tips on preventing food poisoning. Maybe I should have read this before eating precooked chicken from a restaurant with no customers.