Your holiday could be ruined by unsafe food. You will find a couple of simple rules that will help you avoid the distress and disappointment associated with being ill whilst on holiday. Both food handlers and overseas travellers may find this article useful.
This article is based on information associated with World Health Organisation’s advice.
The most common causes of food poisoning.
Gastric illness frequently contracted on holiday and is often referred to as Traveller’s Diarrhea. When people travel abroad, often to developing countries the risks of becoming ill are increased. Many places outside Europe may have infrastructures that are less well developed than are own. Utilities including water supply, refuse disposal and sewerage often do not have the same extent of investment and regulation that applies to what we are used to in the UK.
Gastric infection and food poisoning can be controlled by sound hygiene procedures. Whilst on holiday it is vital that you have an awareness of health risks so that you stay healthy whilst on holiday. Typical vaccinations that you will take to prevent illness such as polio and tetanus before you go away will not guard against water or food borne illness.
What causes food poisoning whilst on holiday?
• Contamination by bacteria in water and food that the local population may be immune to.
• Poor local sanitation.
• Poor hygiene by food handlers.
• Contamination by insects such as flies and wasps.
• Consuming contaminated food in restaurants with poor hygiene procedures.
• Overuse of facilities such as swimming pools and buffet restaurants.
• Ingesting contaminated meat, chicken, beef, pork and fish.
What Safeguards can be taken to prevent Holiday Illness?
Before you travel seek medical advice about any vaccinations that you may need. If you are going to an area affected by Malaria, you may need to take medication in advance of travelling
Disinfection tablets can be purchased in pharmacies and camp site stores in advance of travel and can be used to decontaminate water
It is vital to observe high standards of personal individual hygiene. Make sure you clean your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet and after handling food. If you come into physical contact with an animal, again hand washing is a necessity.
Make sure any water you drink comes from a reliable source. Boiling water for 15 minutes is likely to kill the most dangerous of bugs. Try to stick to bottled water (that has not had its seal broken).Sparkling water may also be dangerous, particularly if served with ice.
It is well known that ice can be dangerous if contaminated water is used in its production or it has come into contact with human hands. Salad may also be washed in contaminated water and should be cleaned in treated water before consumption.
Bottled drinks including coffee, beer, tea and carbonated drinks found in tins are usually the safest drinks to consumer while at home.
Freshly prepared food is often safer to consume than food that has be left out for a long time. Food, often stored in buffets, may have been left out at room temperature which is ideal growing conditions for bacteria.
Make sure your sea food is freshly caught and stored at the correct temperature. If there is a funny smell, you may end up with an infection caused by dangerous toxins.
Keep in mind that leisure water such as with pools is frequently contaminated.
If you do become ill make sure you seek medical advice and keep hydrated.