You have the perfect holiday booked and now the pre-travel butterflies have set in. You can’t wait! Your dream of visiting the gorgeous and lush landscape of Bali, Indonesia has finally come true. You decide to check out popular things to do while you are there to add to your itinerary. That is when you see a warning for ‘Bali Belly’. Fear not, your trip is not over because of it and thankfully, there are ways to deter it from happening to you. Learn about what this bug is with our Ultimate Guide to Bali Belly and ways to prevent it, so you can spend more time at the beach and enjoying a holiday in paradise.
What Is Bali Belly?
Bali Belly sounds like it might be some strange disease, but it is actually just from a change of diet and lifestyle that affects travelers in Bali, Indonesia. It is a fancy name for having an upset stomach or a mild case of gastroenteritis (irritation of the stomach). It is estimated that around fifty percent of travelers to Asia will experience a type of Bali Belly and stomach upsetness while visiting. Since Bali Belly can be pretty common amongst travelers, the symptoms are easy to spot.
The most common culprits of Bali Belly is eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. The pathogens and microorganisms that cause Bali Belly:
•Bacteria. E. coli or Salmonella are usually the bacterium that are responsible for Belli Belly.
•Parasites. These include Entamoeba histolytica, Dientamoeba fragilis, and Blastocystis hominis.
•Viruses. Norovirus and Rotavirus are believed to be a cause.
Bali Belly Symptoms
These are some of the common symptoms that present itself in travelers that experience Bali Belly.
You could have just enjoyed a lovely meal, but around two hours later things start to take a turn. The first symptom that usually arises is bloating. These symptoms can slowly progress over the course of twenty-four hours and can last a few days. Nobody wants to have to deal with that while on vacation.
How to Avoid Bali Belly in The First Place
In a perfect world, we would never get sick on holiday. Sometimes though, it will happen. Statistically speaking, Bali Belly affects almost half of the travelers that visit. But, there are measures you can take to possibly avoid getting Bali Belly while you are visiting. So, we are sharing these tips with you to take into consideration as part of our Ultimate Guide to Bali Belly.
Water and Bali Belly is connected. The leading cause of Bali Belly is contaminated water. Think about contaminated water and all the bacteria brewing in it. Consider that some of the places you may go out to eat at may be using the tap water, perhaps even in ice cubes. Freezing water does not always kill bugs, but boiling and carbonated drinks usually do the trick. Tap water may also be used to rinse vegetables, clean plates, and used during cooking.
•Do not drink the tap water. This includes brushing your teeth with it. Make sure your water and drinks are boiled, bottled, or carbonated.
•Iodine tablets are perfect and easy for purifying water, however some bugs may remain.
•Always check bottled water to make sure they have not been refilled with tap water (check the seal).
•Try a water filtration water bottle or a Lifestraw. They can remove up to 99% of the bad junk found in water.
•Be leary of ice cubes. Ice cubes can come from tap water.
One of the highest contributors to Bali Belly is believed to be the cleanliness of restaurants. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot you can do about that. Bali also has a very humid hot climate. So, if food is left out for too long it is more susceptible to becoming a host for nasty bacteria. But, these tips that are included in our Ultimate Guide to Bali Belly will make sure you do not miss out on the local delicacies.
•Remember the water! When in doubt, think about water and how food is prepared. You want to steer away from fruits and veggies because they are probably washed using the tap water. Fruit you can peel yourself is a good alternative.
•You want to make sure the meat is fresh and fully cooked.
•Try to stay away from buffets. These foods sometimes sit at room temperature and can then start hosting bacteria.
•Bring sanitizer with you and use it often!
•Check customer reviews and ratings online.
You may be thinking, “Well, if the locals are eating it then it must be fine”. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Since they are locals, they have probably developed an immunity of sorts to the contaminations in the food and water.
What About The Street Food?
Southeast Asia is known for it’s unique and tantalizing delicious eats. It’s street food is world class. It is your personal choice whether or not you decide to eat the street food. Do not go for street food close to the road. This is because it could be polluted from traffic. Busier vendors are more likely to be cranking out hot fresh food, which is what you are after. Do not eat food that looks like it has been sitting out all day. Try to be able to watch how the food is being prepared before you purchase it.
Is It Contagious?
Bali Belly is a bug that is most certainly contagious and can be spread person to person or through food and water. If you are looking after someone who potentially has Bali Belly, it is important you take certain precautions. You will want to wash your hands regularly and keep your hands away from your face.
Treatment for Bali Belly
Since Bali Belly is similar to food poisoning, there are methods of treatment. We know that if you get sick while on vacation you want to get better as quickly as possible. You will want to fight off symptoms, but also try to rid your body of whatever pathogen is causing your pain. Sometimes this can be tricky, but we have highlighted some great trips.
Gatorade or water, whatever you have in your arsenal, drink it and drink a lot of it. You will want to stay as hydrated as possible to flush out those bad toxins, but also keep replenishing those vitamins and minerals you are losing. You can do this by drinking mineral water or coconut water. If you can, look for Yokult. It is a drink you may see in some shops that has digestive enzymes and can help you with some symptoms. Do not drink alcohol or caffeine. Alcohol is a depressant and caffeine restricts blood vessels. That means that it will make your symptoms that much more worse and could prevent you from getting better.
Stick With Hydrating/Easy to Digest Food
You do not want anything to spicey or high in fiber settling in your stomach. This will most likely just upset it even more. The best thing we have found is to pretend you do not have teeth. What would be easiest for you to eat? You would eat things like applesauce, mashed potatoes, soups, and bananas. These foods will be easy for your belly to digest, which will aid in symptom relief.
If your symptoms are pretty bad and you want to get ready right away, which of course you do! Keep an eye out for a local pharmacy or drugstore. These are the types of things you will want to be looking for when you venture into the store. These medicines will help treat the symptoms, but may not be able to get the bug out. But, symptom relief can restore some order back into your trip and make it a lot more enjoyable.
Pushing out toxins through diarrhea is the body’s natural response when there is something it does not like in there. So, keep this in mind when getting an anti-diarrheal. You also do not want to block yourself up, especially if you have a fever. However, if it is an emergency (like dehydration) or you take in small doses then it may be beneficial.
If you are experiencing nausea, you may want to look into some medicine that will fight that symptom. These will also help you stop vomiting if you are experiencing that as well. If you want something more natural to help with nausea, try ginger.
Antibiotics are hit and miss when it comes to Bali Belly. This is because they do not always target the pathogen directly. If you want antibiotics, make sure you go to a skilled facility.
Since there have been so many travelers that experience this stomach bug, some home remedies have surfaced that you may want to give a shot. The best thing you can do for your body while it is sick is stay hydrated. So, do not forget to first and foremost drink plenty of bottled water.
The juice from Bali’s coconuts is said to cure Bali Belly because it is rich in minerals to give your body an extra boost to fight the bug. Try drinking it straight from the coconut and not from the store!
Raspberry cordials are said to possess the vitamins and minerals needed to kill twelve different types of bacteria. But, this is still being tested.
Natural yoghurt contains good enzymes that aid digestion and helps settle your stomach.
Caffeine free herbal teas will help your body fight off nausea and keep you hydrated. Ginger tea is supposedly the best for Bali Belly.
Fight Off Dehydration:
-1 tsp of salt
-8 tsp of sugar
-1 liter bottle water
-pinch of salt
-½ tsp of honey
-200ml fruit juice
Checklist of What to Pack
•Hand sanitizer. Use this frequently, as well as wipes to wipe down any surfaces you might be eating off of or touching.
•Oral rehydration sachets. Use these with bottled water only.
•Iodine tablets. Use these if you absolutely have to drink water that is not bottled or boiled.
•Yoghurt. You can not bring yoghurt with you through the airport in your carry-on, but we recommend getting some or paying extra to have it checked. Why? Yoghurt always settles are bellies and they are full of good ingredients for our bodies.
What If It Does Not Go Away?
Bali Belly can have surprising long term effects. Whether your bout of Bali Belly was severe or not, when you return home you may experience episodes of IBS. If these present itself more and more you may want to get checked out by your family doctor. In most cases, Bali Belly does not last for more than a few days.
Warning: If you are running a fever, vomiting, and experiencing bloody stools. Do NOT take an anti-diarrheal and go to the nearest clinic.
Bali, Indonesia is a beautiful vacation destination and a favorite getaway location for nearby Australians. Bali Belly is not isolated on Bali. Similar problems can arise when traveling to places that have a similar humid tropical climate, such as Mexico. This is because this climate is a perfect bacteria breeding ground (yuck). It is also common where restaurant and food handling practices may not be monitored as closely.
One of the worst things that can happen to you on any vacation is getting sick. You want to spend your time relaxing on the beach or seeing what a beautiful city has to offer. You do not want to spend it researching remedies for a stomach bug or popping into the nearest clinic. But, statistics show that fifty-percent of travelers will get some sort of stomach bug when they travel to Southeast Asia. So, this Ultimate Guide to Bali Belly will help you prevent getting a nasty upset tummy and you can spend more time enjoying yourself.