Written by Travel Tips

Bali Belly: How to Avoid and Deal with It

bali belly, Bali Belly: How to Avoid and Deal with It

Embarking on a journey to the picturesque island of Bali is a dream come true for many travellers. However, amidst the excitement lies a potential concern that has plagued many adventurers: the infamous “Bali Belly.” This discomforting gastrointestinal woe can put a damper on even the most enchanting vacation.

But fear not! We delve into the depths of Bali Belly, its causes, prevention strategies, and effective ways to manage its symptoms, ensuring that your tropical getaway remains a cherished memory rather than a digestive ordeal.

Here is everything you need to know about Bali Belly

What is Bali Belly?

Bali Belly is basically a fancy way of saying food poisoning (or stomach flu or gastroenteritis in medical terms). Gastroenteritis is the technical term for a belly that’s all riled up, but most folks would reckon it by the more common signs: having a rough trot with diarrhoea and/or chucking up.

These often come with a side helping of belly cramps, a touch of fever, feeling like you’ve caught a cold from the inside, and waving goodbye to your appetite. Your gut might bloat up like a balloon, and you could play a tune with the gas escaping.

In a nutshell: it lays you flat and makes you reckon the grim reaper might be knocking. Lucky for us, these bouts of spewing and squirting are usually a bit on the mild side and tend to pack up shop on their own.

Is it contagious?

The critters – bacteria, parasites, and viruses – responsible for stirring up Bali Belly can hop from person to person, as well as hitch a ride in your tucker and tucker. So, if you’re looking after a friend who’s copped it, make sure to give your mitts a good scrubbing often and properly, keep your paws off your mug, and give the old “no sharing is caring” routine when it comes to chow and bevvies.

What causes Bali Belly?

Bali Belly can rear its ugly head due to the little critters hanging around in the local tucker or the drinkables. But more often than not, it’s the fancy foreign fare, overdoing it on grub, and knocking back a few too many cold ones that stir the pot. The number one bad boy bacteria responsible for this belly blues dance is E. Coli. To be more detailed, here are some causes of Bali Belly that you may be aware of:

  1. Contaminated food

A humid place like Bali is a favourite place for bacteria to grow. So don’t be surprised if food spoils quickly, especially if:

  • Not stored properly in the refrigerator before cooking.
  • Constantly reheating food.
  • Ingredients are not cooked properly.
  • Cooked by people infected with the same bacteria

To reduce the chance of consuming food contaminated with bacteria, you should avoid consuming raw or undercooked seafood and meat, food from unclean places, or raw vegetables.

  1. Contaminated water

Unlike in Australia or most countries in US and Europe, water in Bali cannot be drunk directly from the tap, so it is best to consume bottled or boiled water.

In the early days, you should avoid consuming food that has been washed with tap water, using cutlery and plates that are still wet, or consuming ice cubes that are not crystalline ice cubes.

  1. Poor hygiene

Foods and drinks that contain bacteria can indeed cause you to get Bali Belly. But if food and drink are clean but you still experience it, it’s a sign that you are not hygienic.

Make sure you always wash your hands and use hand sanitiser before eating, clean your cutlery, and don’t share food with other people.

  1. Change in diet

Exploring food in a new place is fun, especially if you are a foodie. But keep in mind that drastic changes in your diet can surprise your stomach with the inclusion of new ingredients.

It’s best when you just arrive to avoid consuming foods that are too unfamiliar with your daily diet. Also, avoid food menus that are too spicy and limit alcohol consumption in large quantities.

How to recover from Bali Belly?

When you feel you are starting to experience the symptoms of Bali Belly, you should rest first and refrain from doing strenuous activities. One thing you can do to reduce symptoms is to eat good foods to treat diarrhoea. These foods are:

  • Banana
  • White rice
  • Apples
  • Bread

Avoid eating oily and spicy foods and foods that contain dairy, and also reduce consuming vegetables and fruit during diarrhoea.

During diarrhoea, there is a possibility of dehydration. Make sure you drink enough water.

Should you get serious treatment for it?

Even though Bali Belly is a disease that is normal for travellers to experience, you shouldn’t take it lightly. If you feel too weak and go to the bathroom more and more, it’s a sign that you need to take diarrhoea medicine or see a doctor.

Have a consultation with your local doctor about the medications for dodging and dealing with tummy troubles. Even with these meds on your side, catching a case of the traveller’s run is still on the cards, so don’t get too fussy with what you scoff and how you keep things clean.

Despite this, it should be handled directly by a doctor if you want to treat yourself by taking drugs with the brands Norit, Entrostop, Diapet, or Diatab.

To treat dehydration while drinking water, you can also consume isotonic drinks such as ORS, Pocari Sweat, Mizone, Isoplus, or Hydro Coco.

So, there you have it – the lowdown on Bali Belly. It’s like that unexpected guest at your vacation party, but with the right moves, you can show it the exit. From understanding its causes to knowing how to deal with its symptoms, you’re now armed with the know-how to tackle it head-on. 

Remember, Bali Belly might try to steal the spotlight, but your vacation memories deserve to shine brighter. Stay savvy, stay hydrated, and stay open to the beauty Bali has to offer. Your adventure awaits, and now you’re ready to face it, even if a mischievous tummy comes along for the ride!

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