What Should You Do If You’re Traveling and Get Food Poisoning?2 min read
Nothing can ruin a trip quite like food poisoning. If you happen to get sick with food poisoning at home, at least you have familiar resources around to help get you feeling better. But that’s not always the case when you’re traveling.
A mild case of food poisoning can keep you trapped in your room. But more severe food poisoning can cause dehydration and serious complications, requiring medical attention.
Food poisoning is caused by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Symptoms of food poisoning can start within hours of ingesting the bad stuff, and often include nausea, stomach cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, reduced appetite and exhaustion. Some cases of food poisoning may go away within a day, but some last several days and severe cases can linger for more than a week. Not exactly what you were looking forward to when you booked the trip.
Many times, you can tough it out with mild cases of food poisoning, but you should watch for severe symptoms – they are a sign you need medical treatment. These symptoms include frequent vomiting for more than two days, vomiting blood, severe diarrhea lasting longer than three days, bloody stools, high fever, signs of severe dehydration and extreme stomach pain.
Food poisoning can happen anywhere, even your own kitchen. However, traveling often increases the risk, especially if you’re in a place with sanitation inferior to that which you are accustomed.
If you do get sick, treatment generally consists of relieving symptoms and replacing lost fluids. However, severe dehydration can require IV treatment in a hospital or clinic. A doctor might also prescribe antibiotics for severe cases caused by bacteria.
One of the best ways to be proactive about handling illness while traveling is purchasing a short-term insurance policy that covers you in the area you’re traveling to, such as those offered by GeoBlue [disclosure: Geo Blue is a partner of Healthy Travel Blog]. This will give you access to quality medical care, covering everything from treatment for an upset stomach to medical evacuation and hospitalization. Additionally, it enables you to avoid paying outrageous prices for medications and exams and provides access to a list of physicians you can reach out to for help.
When recovering from food poisoning, take your time to refuel on fluids and rest. You should also ease your way back into eating – stick to bland, easy-to-digest foods and stop eating if your nausea returns.
Photo from Women’s Health Encyclopedia.