Tummy-safe travel hygiene tips

According to the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNac), travellers’ diarrhoea is the most common health problem to affect people travelling and on their holidays.

The problem is caused by different bugs such as bacteria, parasites and viruses that you can pick up by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, and the risk is highest for those travelling to low-income countries (though there is also a small chance you could experience travellers’ tummy problems in low-risk destinations, including Northern and Western Europe).

The good news is that practising good travel hygiene can help keep that risk as low as possible. So if you want to keep your tummy safe on holiday, here’s what you should do:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet and before eating or handling food. Take a supply of antibacterial wipes or hand sanitising gel for times when there are no washing facilities
  • Also use antibacterial wipes to clean surfaces and utensils when you’re eating or preparing food and use water purification tablets to sterilise the water you use to wash plates, cutlery, fruit and vegetables
  • If you’re staying in a country where the water is unsafe to drink, only drink boiled or bottled water with intact seals, and use recently boiled and cooled water for brushing your teeth. Also avoid ice and foods that may have been washed with unsafe water
  • Avoid eating in places where there are a lot of flies
  • Avoid sharing towels and cutlery with anyone
  • Try not to swallow any water when you’re swimming
  • Make sure any hot dishes you eat are well heated – ideally your food should be piping hot (especially meat, fish and poultry)
  • Avoid eating raw fish and shellfish, dishes that contain raw or undercooked eggs (mayonnaise, for instance) and unpasteurised milk and dairy foods. Choose fruit that you can peel yourself

Antibacterial wipes, gels and water purification tablets are available at local pharmacies. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder