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Solo traveller’s shocking battle with ‘Bali belly’ and top tips for avoiding it on your holiday

TravelSolo traveller's shocking battle with 'Bali belly' and top tips for avoiding it on your holiday
Bali, the Indonesian paradise and a magnet for solo travelers, is not just about exotic beaches and breathtaking landscapes. It’s also infamously known for the dreaded ‘Bali belly’ that can turn your dream holiday into a nightmare. But fear not! With the right precautions and knowledge, you can enjoy your Bali adventure without the unpleasant experience of ‘Bali belly’.

What is 'Bali belly'?

‘Bali Belly,’ also known as travelers’ diarrhea, is usually caused by bacteria found in food and water, and sometimes by viruses such as Rotavirus or Norovirus. It’s an illness that can leave you stuck in discomfort, ruining your holiday plans in Bali. Travelers often fall victim to ‘Bali belly’ within the first week of their visit to a foreign country, as the body adjusts to new foods and different bacteria. The symptoms can be quite unpleasant, with many sharing their harrowing experiences on social media platforms. From uncontrollable vomiting to persistent diarrhea, ‘Bali belly’ can leave travelers bedridden for days, robbing them of the joy of exploration.

Lily's Unfortunate Encounter

One such victim, Lily Chugg from Australia, shared her unfortunate experience with ‘Bali belly’ on social media. Despite taking every precaution, she found herself succumbing to the illness, highlighting how unpredictable and indiscriminate it can be. Her struggles serve as a cautionary tale for anyone planning a trip to Bali.

The Alarming Symptoms

Travelers who have encountered ‘Bali belly’ describe it as a tormenting experience. The symptoms include loose, watery stools, severe stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever. The relentless discomfort often keeps individuals confined to their accommodations, robbing them of precious holiday moments.

Understanding 'Bali belly'

It’s important to understand that ‘Bali belly’ is typically caused by the consumption of contaminated food or water. When travelers, with different immunity levels, consume high-risk foods or beverages, they are susceptible to falling victim to this debilitating illness. It’s this vulnerability that makes it crucial for solo travelers to be well-prepared to avoid the distress of ‘Bali belly’.

Tips for Avoiding 'Bali Belly'


Stick to Bottled Water

: As a solo traveler, it’s essential to stay hydrated, but avoid tap water. Stick to bottled water and ensure the seal is intact before consumption. 2.

Mind Your Diet

: Be cautious when trying out local fare. Avoid raw or undercooked foods, and opt for freshly cooked meals from reputable eateries. 3.

Hand Hygiene

: Maintain proper hand hygiene by washing hands frequently, particularly before meals. Use hand sanitizer when water and soap aren’t readily available.
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Avoid Ice

: Refrain from consuming ice in your beverages, as it’s often made from tap water that may not be safe for consumption. 5.

Medication Preparation

: Consider carrying anti-diarrheal medications and rehydration salts in your travel kit. These can provide relief if symptoms surface. 6.

Moderate Alcohol Intake

: Keep your alcohol consumption in check, as excessive intake can exacerbate the vulnerability to ‘Bali belly’. 7.

Acclimate Slowly

: Allow your body to acclimate to the local cuisine gradually. Abruptly indulging in street food or unfamiliar dishes can shock your system.

In Conclusion

‘Bali belly’ may lurk as a potential menace to your solo travels, but armed with the right knowledge and precautions, you can minimize the risk of encountering this unwelcome guest. By adopting proactive measures and being mindful of your dietary choices, you can safeguard your health and relish every moment of your Bali adventure. So, pack your bags, embark on your solo journey, and immerse yourself in the mesmerizing beauty of Bali, free from the worries of ‘Bali belly’.

How to Avoid Bali Belly While Traveling

Bali is a popular tourist destination, but many travelers are wary of getting sick while they are far away from home. One common concern for travelers to Bali is the risk of getting “Bali belly,” a colloquial term for traveler’s diarrhea. The symptoms of Bali belly can include stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and fatigue, and it can put a damper on any travel plans. However, there are precautions that travelers can take to protect themselves and avoid the unpleasant experience of getting sick while on vacation in Bali.

Eating and Drinking Safely in Bali

When it comes to avoiding Bali belly, being mindful of what you eat and drink is crucial. Dr. Patel recommends that travelers ensure all meat and seafood are thoroughly cooked, avoiding raw or rare options. Additionally, it is important to steer clear of sushi and unpasteurized dairy products such as milk, cheese, and ice cream. One of the most important precautions is to avoid drinking tap water and opt for bottled water instead. The quality of the water in Bali is not regulated like it is in many Western countries, and it may contain bacteria and viruses, making it unsafe to drink. As a result of domestic sewage, agriculture, and industrial waste, many of Bali’s clean water sources have been contaminated, posing a risk to travelers who are not accustomed to these conditions. Using bottled or purified water for drinking, brushing teeth, and making ice cubes is highly recommended to reduce the risk of exposure to potentially harmful bacteria and viruses.
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Eating Street Food and Choosing Hygienic Options

Many travelers are drawn to the allure of street food, but it’s important to exercise caution when indulging in these tempting offerings. Dr. Suhail Hussain advises travelers to be selective when consuming street food. It is advisable to choose food vendors with high turnover or crowds, as this indicates freshly prepared meals and potentially higher hygiene standards. Additionally, travelers should opt for hot, well-cooked meals that are served steaming hot, as the heat can help kill off bacteria. Raw or undercooked foods, including salads and unpeeled fruits and vegetables, should be avoided to minimize the risk of exposure to harmful pathogens. By being conscious of the food choices and where they are sourced, travelers can significantly reduce the likelihood of encountering Bali belly during their trip.

Additional Precautions and Health Support

In addition to being cautious with food and water consumption, travelers can take further steps to safeguard their health while in Bali. For instance, it is advisable to carry antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer for situations where soap and water may not be readily available. Proper hand hygiene, especially before eating or handling food, can help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses. Furthermore, travelers may consider taking probiotics before and during their trip to support gut health and reduce the risk of stomach issues. Probiotics can help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which is essential for optimal digestive health. If symptoms of Bali belly or any digestive issues arise, it is important to stay hydrated and seek medical advice if symptoms persist or worsen. While there is no specific medication for Bali belly, staying well-hydrated, especially in the event of diarrhea, is crucial to replace lost fluids. In severe cases, oral rehydration solution may be necessary, and over-the-counter medication like loperamide can help reduce the frequency and urgency of needing to use the bathroom. If symptoms are severe, antibiotics should only be taken under the prescription of a doctor. Keeping these precautions in mind and being proactive about health and hygiene can help travelers stay healthy and enjoy their trip to Bali without the worry of falling ill.
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