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Traveling to India: How to Stay Healthy and Avoid the Delhi Belly

How to Stay Healthy in India – Tips on How to Avoid the Delhi Belly

When travelling to India you should seriously think about:

  • your packing list (especially for women) — I don´t want you to learn it the hard way!
  • how to stay healthy 
  • how to be safe
Why is there such a big focus on staying healthy and how to do it

First of all. India is beautiful and colorful, but dirty too. Even people from India struggle with their health.

Avoiding Delhi Belly - How to Stay Healthy in India

 

1. Do not use the water from the tap while brushing your teeth

Use it for taking a shower, washing your face and your hair but do not brush or clean your toothbrush with the water. Use always filtered and bottled water or purify it. When you buy it be sure it is closed well and the best thing is if there is plastic around the top.

2. Don´t drink or eat anything with ice cubes in it

My friend Heike and I were really careful while travelling around India to avoid ice cubes and all the other things you should avoid. But then, one evening we were at a fancy hotel. After having our dinner we went to the bar and ordered a cocktail. The whole effort on staying healthy was gone (…it went literally down the toilet…).

3. Don´t eat salad or fruit without a peel

You might think it´s healty to eat salad and fruits and yes, it is. But not in India. They wash it with the water from the tap and our stomach is just not used to this water.

If you want to eat fruit stay with fruit that has a peel like bananas, oranges, water melon,…

4. Don´t eat at a market

Stay and eat where other Western travellers eat. If you really want to try anything else be sure the food is cooked very well.

5. Take anti bacterial handwipes and/or a spray with you

Clean your hands after going to a bathroom, before eating and drinking and anytime you feel uncomfortable. I don´t use those handwipes at home but in India it was definitely a great idea to bring them with me.

6. Drink Alcohol in the Morning

I am not sure about this suggestion if it really works. We drank every morning a rum-coke (how gross!) to kill the bacteria. It helped but after having a cocktail I could drink as much rum-coke as I wanted. It was too late…

Delhi Belly – What to do?

If you are travelling and can´t stay in bed take lots of toilet paper with you. Being at the Taj Mahal and pleading for more toilet paper is not fun – it´s horrible.

It´s great to have medicine from home with you but I can tell you it won´t help you. You need to get medicine from India. It is a lot stronger than our medicine. If you buy it don´t forget to buy hydralytes.

When you´re at home again help your immune system by for example eating yogurt. The best thing to do is see your doctor and ask for advice. Your body will thank you.

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How to Avoid the Delhi Belly while traveling in India (tips to stay healthy)  

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Comments 6

  1. As a qualified nurse there are a couple of things I have to disagree slightly on. First is don’t just stick to places where westerners eat, yes take precautions like washing your hands and making sure food is cooked etc, but generally India is a wonderful place to explore, don’t limit your options, you will be fine.

    Second, the comparison between Indian and UK medicines is wrong, but anyway you don’t need them. Not for simple Diarroeah. All you need to do is rest for a day or two, stay in your room near a bathroom and stay very hydrated and try to eat simple foods like toast and a banana etc. That’s it. Let everything ‘pass through’ your system. Medication is not needed or advised as a treatment. Immodium (and similar) is useful as a stopper only if you have to travel or be on the move when it hits you, but it is not a good long term plan, best to let everything pass through naturally.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks a lot for your professionell advice. I had to travel and couldn´t rest in the room for a longer time so I had to take some medicine. If you have time to let it pass through your advice is perfect.
      Great you had no problem with the food in India. It was just my advice to be careful. I wouldn´t want to eat food from the streets altough normally I prefer to eat local food from a market but after my problem with the “Delhi Belly” I rather eat at “safe” restaurants and places.

    2. Street food is totally fine. I’ve never been sick from it. I think restaurants are scarier. You aren’t back in that kitchen watching what is being done to your food. I would take street food any day. You can see how it is being prepared. And rum and coke first thing in the morning is overkill. If you have to stick to western restaurants, then why travel? The local food is half the experience.

      1. Post
        Author

        I totally agree with you that trying the local food is half the experience but still I would be cautious especially in India eating street food. If you see it´s cooked thoroughly okay, otherwise I wouldn´t eat it. I had my problems in India and if you have to travel every day to a different location it´s better to have an intact stomach. Traveling with the “Delhi Belly” is not fun at all.

  2. Same goes for thailand. i got sick there and learned not to take ice or anything thats been washed with local water. i would agree to let it go through naturally. , nad only take the hard stuff if you have to travel.

  3. I believe the term you were referring to was “tap” water, not “tab” water. Like as in faucet water. Tab water is not a thing

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