Deihi belly, Bali belly or travellers diarrhoea (sorry – had to mention it)
Delhi belly can upset large parts of your holidays. Pre-paid tours can be missed and even flights home delayed causing inconvenience and financial loss. It affects many many travellers. Traveller’s diarrhoea is usually a condition that clears up after a few days but severe cases can cause severe dehydration and even hospitalisation – especially for children.
Hence, it is always wise to purchase travel insurance to cover any out of pocket expenses incurred.
Many people who travel from developed to developing countries experience traveller’s diarrhoea. This illness can occur at any time during the trip. It is usually a self-limiting condition that clears up after a few days. It is often caused by eating contaminated food or water. Avoid high risk foods such as raw fruits and vegetables, rare or undercooked meats of any kind, seafood, food from street vendors and food from buffets. Perhaps the most common cause in drinking un-sanitised tap water.
Typical travel insurance claims relating to Delhi belly are travel delay or travel interruption due travellers not being fit to fly or take their pre-paid day tour.
The risk of traveller’s diarrhoea is higher where sanitation and hygiene standards are poor, such as in the developing nations of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Delhi belly is more common in young adults than older adults, probably because younger people tend to choose more adventurous destinations or styles of travel.
The symptoms include abdominal bloating, cramps and pain. It is common to suffer nausea, a mild temperature, the feeling of weakness and an urgency to repeatably go to the toilet.
Consuming contaminated food is a major cause of traveller’s diarrhoea
Some high-risk foods that the wary traveller should avoid include:
● Raw fruits and vegetables. For instance, they may have been washed in contaminated water. It is safer to eat boiled vegetables and peel fruits yourself.
● Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce
● Raw, rare or undercooked meats of any kind
● Seafood, particularly raw or inadequately cooked shellfish or fish
● Sauces and mayonnaises
● Unpasteurised dairy foods, including milk
● Food from street vendors
● Any hot food that has been left long enough to cool (e.g. food buffets)
● Water contaminated with infected faeces is another common cause of traveller’sdiarrhoea. If you are not sure of the safety of the water supply, avoid drinking the water or brushing your teeth with it. Buy bottled water to drink, preferably carbonated. Boil tap water for at least five minutes before drinking it. It is wise to avoid any drinks that contain ice and avoid using tap water to wash your fruit and vegetables.
Good hygiene practices can prevent traveller’s diarrhoea
Wash your hands with soap and water after going to the toilet, and before eating or preparing food. The use of hand sanitisers are also recommended. Also, make sure any dishes, cups or other utensils are completely dry after they are washed and only eat at reputable and clean restaurants.
Children with traveller’s diarrhoea are more vulnerable to dehydration and need plenty of suitable drinks. To prevent infection in children, don’t allow small children to crawl around on floors. Make sure your child doesn’t put their unwashed fingers into their mouth and wash their hands frequently. If travelling with a baby, when making up formula milk, either use bottled water or thoroughly boil tap water for at least five minutes.
As well as the precautions above, the use of the oral cholera vaccine has been shown to reduce the overall incidence of traveller’s diarrhoea by half, and is now often recommended by travel physicians. This secondary benefit is due to its suppression of the bacteria E. coli. It can be used in adults and children over the age of two.
Treatment for bali belly
The following treatments aims to ease some of the symptoms and prevent dehydration. Options may include:
● Plenty of water to avoid dehydration
● Oral rehydration drinks to replace lost salts and minerals
● Antibiotics to kill a bacterial infection
● Anti-nausea drugs
● Dairy foods can worsen diarrhoea in some people, so limit consumption of these foods
● Avoiding alcohol and spicy foods
● Avoiding anti-diarrhoea drugs if you have a high fever – preventing the passage of stools will only keep a bacterial infection and its poisons inside the body for longer.
● It is always advisable to consult a doctor.
Travel Insurance can ease the financial pain
As mentioned, it is usually a self-limiting condition that clears up after a few days. If you can’t travel or participate in prepaid tours or activities resulting in financial loss and have been treated by a doctor, Travel Insurance Plus’ comprehensive policy will cover out of pocket expenses.
Source: Victorian Governments Health Channel