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How to avoid the trots in india - dysentery - diarrhoea

edited September 2009 in - India
Hi - I am off to India soon and my only concern is how to avoid getting the trots! Just about everyone I know who goes to India, whether backpacking or in decent hotels, seems to get diarrhoea or dysentery. Are there any India veterans out there who can suggest how best to avoid spending half my holiday on the loo!!!? I love curries, but should I avoid them? is fruit ok? I assume street food needs to be avoided and tap water. No ice in drinks... How about medication - is there preventative medicine or should I just go prepared with 'blockers'?
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  • edited 1:27PM
    You can go to India and avoid the squits... but its not easy! In generaly if you can't boil it or peel it, don't eat it. Most food is ok provided its piping hot, even street food if you see it being cooked. Bottled water is essential, and make sure the top was unopened when you got it. Its always worth taking a remedy for diarrhoea with you just in case, like Immodium or Dioralyte. Also remember to keep up your fluid intake, and wash your hand regularly!
  • edited 1:27PM
    Most travellers to India get a case of "Delhi belly" as your body encounters and reacts to unfamiliar bacteria. BY trying to avoid it you can miss out on lots of great food and drinks that make the Indian experience even better. If you do get stomach problems focus on rehydrating, eating simple plane food and you should be better in 48 hours at most. If any longer take an antibiotic course which is available at any Indian pharmacy without prescription. Immodium and other blockers should only be used when travelling; its better to let things take their course if possible.
  • edited 1:27PM
    Take all the precautions but regardless you will get caught short at some point. I carry a packet of Gastro Stop pills availabe at the chemist they are excellent in fixing you back up and stopping the gravy train. Also carry some sachets of Gastrolite powder you add to water and that will plug the guts up and the remove the fear of following thru on a wind break.
  • edited October 2009
    I was in India and received an excellent tip from an Indian in Canada. He said to eat in the "fast food" restaurants because they are heavily regulated. The bottled water suggestion has to be taken with a "grain of salt" because if you have seen the movie Slumdog Millionaire, the bottles in some cases are resealed with crazy glue. We saw it being done. If you like Indian food, have your fill at home, the basic ingredients are better, so the end product at home is better. Pizza Hut got a lot of our business. Have a good time, the cultural shock is worth it!!
  • edited 1:27PM
    Its important to tell the difference between upset stomach with diarrhoea which lasts for less than 48 hours, and a serious bacterial infection which can last weeks if untreated. If you get an upset stomach seek treatment if you're no better after 2 days. There are western doctors in all Indian cities, and they are a better bet than the many pharmacies and home remedies out there.

    The comment above about eating at Pizza Hut is terrible advice - what a waste of adventure to travel all this way to eat bland, greasy western food! Eat the local food, just avoid street vendors unless you have an experienced stomach. Eat in restaurants where the locals eat - the longer the queue, and brighter the saris, the better the food..
  • Just follow few simple things ::

    * Avoid tab water but prefer only branded mineral water like Kinley, Himalaya
    * Avoid road side foods
    * Avoid oily & Spicy Food beacause you are not useto with this
    * try to avoid cheap restaurant

    And Enjoy.............
  • edited November 2009
    I agree with 'Bon Voyage India'

    Always prefer mineral water and avoid the road side / oily and spicy foods.
    Also, I prefer few more things (optional, however):

    * Avoid staying in areas that have water-lodgings near by.
    * Always take preventive measure like vaccinations for malaria, etc.
    * Always take preventive steps like using mosquito-nets, or using anti-mosquito gels, etc.

    If one takes these preventive steps, there are almost no probabilities of one getting disinfected and can travel with peace...
  • great cWattson

    You are absolutely right but if anyone staying in nice & good place then you do not need a mosquito-nets or any gels.
  • edited 1:27PM
    please take note of ordering hoemoepathic medicine before you leave - remedy Okoubaka - you can take these drops before each meal and they are a preventative against any stomach bugs - it worked for me 100% for 2 years stay abroad. Also ask homeopathic pharmacy - i.e Ainsworths or Nelsons - London - what you need - e.g. homepathic Arsenic for Diarrohea etc and Colocythis for colic - they do not cost much and act very quickly in acute conditions - the preventative - Okobouka is imperative. no side effects - Good Luck!
  • edited 1:27PM
    I will be really sacre of going to India. I meet many Indian people and they are the worst in the world!.
    I just advise you to be careful!
  • edited 1:27PM
    I have visited india 4 or 5 times and have never been ill .

    Do not eat cold foods .Make sure you eat cooked foods ..FRESHLY PREPARED . It doesnt matter if the place looks grotty .What matters is the turnover .if it is used all he time then thats good .Look to see if Indians use the place .Drink hot drinks where they boil the water tea .No ice ,ice cream fruit that you dont peel etc as germs are spread by hand .However in Goa I risked fruit etc and other things and it was OK.check the kitchen if you can .If ou have a sensitive stomach just watch your intake .I ate fish in Goa but no meat anywhere .Vitamin tablets etc can help supplement your diet .
  • edited 1:27PM
    Few things to keep in mind when you come to India.

    1. Buy only Aquafina, Kinley, Himalaya, Bisleri and Kingfisher brand of bottled water. These are good and reliable
    2. DO NOT eat street food. Westerners are not used to it. If you wanna have Indian food I would recommend you all to go to good restaurants. You will find them very flashy, upclass and expensive. But if in comparison to dollars or pound its very cheap and hygienic.
    3. Do not eat fruits without washing them
    4. Do not always drink alcohol (Places like Goa). In few places drinking excessive alcohol with dehydrate you because of the weather
    5. If you're staying in hotel which are rated 3 star or upwards, you do not need to carry any mosquito repellent.
    6. Drink a lot of water when in India

    Finally Indian people are as worst or good as any American, Brit or Aussie.

    Enjoy your travel to India. Cheers - An Indian
  • edited 1:27PM
    My husband and I visited Goa last February had a wonderful time are going back next year in March had no problem with the food ate everything they gave us plenty of wonderful fish.We are both 77 and loved every moment the people are great
    Iris West Sussex
  • edited 1:27PM
    I recently returned from India and did not have ONE day of being sick!!! I attribute it to not eating any meat, at all, drinking only bottled water to brush teeth and when showering make sure you do not digest any water. Also. I take probiotics 2x a day. I also carry Pepto Bismol with me just in case and quickly take 2 before every meal for at least one day. I travel a lot to remote places and have found both of these to work very well. India is an amazing place and can't wait to go back in 2011....!!!!
  • edited 1:27PM
    I think Oz has offered some very good advice. I have visited India 11 times now and have rarely got sick at all. I take all the regular precautions and I am also vegetarian. Some of the best and healthiest food is vegetarian anyway.

    Some people mistakenly think you can build up some kind of immunity to local tap water by brushing your teeth in it. It can just take a few bacteria or amoeba to make you sick and so there is no need to take this risk when botted water or water purification tablets/chemicals are available.

    The things I avoid as precautionary measures are:
    icecream - if there have been powercuts and it melts and gets re-frozen it can make you really ill.
    quiet restaurants - if a restaurant is quiet then the food may have been hanging around and old rice for example can make you really sick
    ice in drinks - people may tell you its made from safe water/mineral water - but you can't be sure so why risk it.
    trust your instincts - if anything tastes odd or doesn't smell fresh just don't eat it
  • edited 1:27PM
    As well as the comments above, you should buy antiseptic wipes and antiseptic gel from Tesco or Boots. The money in India is very dirty especially the 10 Rupee notes. Try to cleanse your hands after touching money. Avoid sweet shops where the guy who serves you and gives you change also touches the food. Always spray with gel before picking food up with your hands and putting it in your mouth.
  • edited 1:27PM
    adamou and HuwTee - excellent advice regarding the ice-cream and the dirty money. I once got spectacularly sick in Myanmar, and the only suspect fod i ate was icecream - 3 days running at this famous ice-cream joint. I only remeber now that there was no electricity in the city i was in the whole time i was there. Could well have been the ecoli in the icecreamthat breached my defenses!
  • edited 1:27PM
    Hi I am a pharmacist from UK , and have visited India several times, and also Sri lanka, and parts of Africa, and the best advice is definitely stick to vegetarian cooked food, particularly where lots of locals are eating.Street food is often safer than a posh hotel, as turnover is fast (not sat around in buffets or kitchens accumulating bacteria etc), and you can see it being cooked properly. Also, always drink and clean teeth using reputable bottled water, avoid alcohol and too much sun (as gastric irritants), and carry wet-wipes/ hand gel, (especially because the money is generally in a filthy state)! I have never been ill on my travels ,(except once very badly in Toronto-ate chicken sub!!)
  • edited 1:27PM
    I would recommend taking Travelan tablets to India. They are available over counter in Aus, not sure about rest of world. You take one when you eat and they help bind the main gastro bug (E.coli) you ingest in your gut. I was only person out of 16 on trip in India who didn't get the sqirts. And on other recent trips to Vietnam, Borneo, peninsula Malaysia - no dodgy belly at all. Won't stop everything but certainly helps.
  • edited 1:27PM
    Im in India again on business. 5 days in and Ivebeen struck with dysentry but it seams tobe easing now. I intend to see if I can get something to stop the squirts. I was careless thouight bout the ice in drinks and money being so dirty didnt take precautions anyway you live n learn. My main query is though I was going to get my teeth done here instead of Bangkok does anyone know of a reputable dentist in CHnadigarh or Dehli? I heard the dental treatments here are very good and cost way less than Ozzie.
  • edited 1:27PM
    Tennisbabe is right to point out that street food can be safer than a posh hotel as it is usually flash-fried at high temperatures and made fresh that day. With a good turnover of people on a busy street it is better than going to a quiet posh restaurant/hotel with a buffet. With buffets (other than breakfast) things are likely to be hanging around for too long. I remember paying for some lunch at a 'nice' hotel in Agra so that we could use their swimming pool. My friend ate some wierd salad mix referred to as 'Russian salad' on the menu and it made her really sick. The chef was obviously trying to cater for foreign guests and unfortunately made them all sick in the process. The Indian curry & rice options I had were fine.
  • edited 1:27PM
    When in India I just take along water purification tablets (available at pharmacies in your home country) and bung these into every unbottled drink; wait 10 mins then enjoy. Also, do take mossie repellent ('Odomos' in Indian pharmacies).

    A word to "Smart", I see you have made NO contribution to the topic!! except to say "Indian people are the worst in the world.." What exactly do you mean? I am an Indian and I am pretty smart which is more than I can say of you.
  • edited 1:27PM
    I have found after many visits to India (and elsewhere) that there are three basic precautions: least 2 weeks before you leave home, have a daily intake of good yoghurt, such as Yakult
    2.....always wash your hands BEFORE you eat....restaurants often have a washbasin near the entrance.
    3......always drink bottled water.......check the seal

    Inevitably you will still have the trots from time to time, but the early yoghurt intake before you leave home does seem to minimise those experiences and will enable you to enjoy Fabulous India.
  • edited 1:27PM
    Only one comment about eating street food. It may be fine because its cooked at a very high temperature and has a high turnover. BUT check the plate if they give you one. It may have been washed in filthy water. I have been to India more than 20 times and agree about top class hotels - they aren't all safe, so beware. Agree with rJals. Smart's comment wasn't necessary.
  • edited 1:27PM
    Re yoghurt - you can also take Probiotics in a pill form to prepare your stomach.
  • edited 1:27PM
    I'm sorry if I'm not to ask a question in this comment section, but I figured people in this post may know the answer! So, I was wondering about traveling to Sri Lanka with my school program in January of 2012. My concern is that I am a kidney transplant recipient and very stable (19 years and going strong!), is it completely crazy to consider such a trip that is organized by my school?!?! I'm in my thirties and growing up one of my dreams was always to go to India-doctors "warned" me against this, but didn't outright say it was impossible. Thoughts, opinions, comments? Thank you and happy travels!
  • edited 1:27PM
    Some good advice here. I would say:
    1) Stick to vegetarian cooked food. No hardship in India.
    2) Drink plenty of bottled water. Check the seal when you buy, and buy only from reputable looking outlets.
    3) Avoid buffets and salads
    4) Carry toilet roll
  • edited 1:27PM
    if i fall sick in goa what can i take?
  • edited 1:27PM
    I have just come back from a month around India and the three of us were I think very lucky, as no-one got sick. I ate mainly vegetairian but one other ate indian curries and local food for breakfast, luch and tea. We weren't staying 5 star either ! Of course the safest rule of thumb was only drink bottled water - an even then I turned 1 bottle down at a cafe as the seal wasn't locked. They drink the bottled water themselves so most places do not try and rip you off with water. We ate everywhere from hotels to street cafes and were just vigilent in looking around 1st and if it looked right - we ate there. Fruit is safe as you can peel it. I am sure the runs comes from all the spices and chillies more than the cleanliness of the food itself. Make sure you ask your doctor to give you script for 2 lots of pills - 1 for the runs, and one for chronic runs! just in case. I took a small bag of drugs for everything from the runs to skin disorders, and I came home with the same bag of drugs as I left with except for 2 panadol.! Enjoy your holiday and go with an open mind - you'll need it. It is hard going but you will experience things you would never see anywhere else.
  • edited 1:27PM
    Damn agreed with KEZ 's comment....GO WITH OPEN MIND......I read all above comment every one saying...before to eat wash your hand, drink lots of water, take medico box along with you bla bla bla.....In the whole world everyone knew that before to eat anything we must wash our hand & all .........I mean it’s pretty necessary & damn general thing to do in a day......i saw Tonny's comment too.....he said if he got sick what he need to do...simple if u got fever take PCM,CROCIN etc or consult with local hospital doctor..& TONNY coming dec'11 & jan'12 will be the bash party & carnival time at GOA enjoy it with your heart & not from the advices.................and If anyone looking to follow all above bunch of’s better to skip the tour....since it would take minimum 2 days to collect & plan above course of action to implement....LOL.........Enjoy the trip with open mind & beautiful sunshine....Nawal J. From INDIA ( Religion HUMAN BEING---above all)
  • edited 1:27PM
    Thank you everyone for posting your comments. Some I'll follow and others I wont.

    Just one thing, during my last 2 visits to India (Over 7 years ago) I fould Indian people to offer some of the best hospitality I've ever received even when they didn't have much money. George from Scotland
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