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food related illness?

Philadelphia
4 posts
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food related illness?

My brother-in-law recently travelled to India on business. Within days of his return he was at the hospital with extreme diarrhea and abdominal cramping. The doctors concluded that it was due to something he ate while abroad.

My brother-in-law is not a very adventurous eater due to some gastrointestinal issues. He will certainly be travelling to India again and I wonder if any experienced visitors out there might advise on precautions he could take either before or during a trip.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

Lincoln, United...
Destination Expert
for Lincoln
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1. Re: food related illness?

There are many opinions on how to avoid an upset stomach in India. Some rely on taking things before travelling such as particular lactobacillus or taking an oral cholera vaccine called Dukoral which in some studies have shown some success in preventing travellers diarrhea. The lactobacillus approach is described in detail on Indiamike, but involves taking lactobacillus for several months before going and I tried it last year and it didn't work for me!!

The other approach is what you eat or avoid in India. Some swear by becoming vegetarian (which is no hardship in India) on the basis that undercooked meat is a good source of unwelcome bacteria. Obviously only drink bottle water, don't accept ice cubes unless you are sure of the source. Salads will often be washed in unfiltered water. Peel all fruit etc. etc. etc. Buffets are also often a source of problems, because the food hangs around and the temperature may not be hot enough to keep the bacteria from breeding.

The bottom line is that you can do all these things and still get ill and you can ignore all these rules and be OK. Maybe if he's going regularly he will build up natural immunity through developing the right flora in his gut. But I think the statistics say that in the first two weeks of travelling in India, most first timers will get some form of stomach upset.

Philadelphia
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2. Re: food related illness?

Tim-

Thank you for your considerate reply.I will pass this information on and hopefully it will be helpful. As you said it may just be a matter of building a tolerance to new kinds of cuisines.My personal interest is that I don't want to see a paranoia about food ruin my brother-in-law's (and more importantly my sister's! ...) prospects for travel.

Again I thank you for taking the time to give me a thoughtful reply.

I wish you happy travels - Deb(MrsEc1)

3. Re: food related illness?

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Removed on: 21 March 2011, 05:18