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Jun 02 2016

Food Poisoning in Thailand

Food Poisoning in Thailand

If you have been to Thailand you will know that food poisoning is possible and could happen at any time while you are on holiday. Unfortunately I am not able to tell you a fool-proof way to avoid getting sick but I will give you some handy tips I have learnt along the way. The last thing you want on a holiday is to be stuck to the bed resting your holiday away but it does happen.

I have been sick a few times in Thailand and I am careful and know what to eat and where etc. but I know it is not fun at all. In my experiences I have or people I know have only been sick in the bigger touristy areas, like Phuket, Bangkok etc. I have spent a lot of time in villages, off-route hidden attractions most tourist have not even heard of but I have never been sick in these remote locations. I was once hospitalised in Chiang Mai after eating in a well-known popular restaurant, I was also sick eating KFC in Pattaya. Serves me right for eating KFC in Thailand, right?

A lot of people will offer advice on trying to not get sick in Thailand. They will say do not eat the street food, purchased from carts. They may be cheap but that will get you sick. This is not entirely true as I am a big fan of the street cart food and it has never affected me or anyone I have travelled with. Some people will get sick from the ice in their drinks.. This can happen as some ice when made is not treated. If the bar you are at has a shaped ice (cylinder with hole through it) then you will be happy to know that has been treated. If the ice is shaved or came out of the bars ice trays… then there is a high chance it has not been treated and you could get sick.

Seafood, is a big drawer of tourist to Thailand. Eating freshly caught seafood at cheaper prices then in the western world can become a daily activity. Unfortunately if you have been to Thailand you will see the seafood can be on display on ice in direct sunlight. You will never know how long the food with sitting in that sun for and this is a common way people get food poisoning in Thailand.

Now some tips I am able to give from my experiences are that if you know you have a weak stomach then stick to foods you know your stomach can put up with. I will always take a packet of Imodium tablets when on holiday to help with any reoccurring burning or ingestion problems you may have from the local foods. Drink plenty of water at all times, but only bottled water. It is hot and humid and you will sweat a lot, so keep the hydration up. Also be mindful to clean your teeth with bottled water as an extra precaution.

It is also good to note that when you first arrive in Thailand and start eating the food, you may feel some discomfort as the food in Thailand is very different to what we eat in the western world. I would say the food in Thailand is fresher and has less additives but that tends to affect our body, as well as some of the spices they add to the food. But if that discomfort gets too much do not be scared to seek medical advice. The medical system in Thailand is very different to the western world and in the touristy areas you can walk into the pharmacy and be diagnosed and given medication without seeing a doctor. They are generally very good with the standard Tourist illnesses but if it is too much for them they will suggest you see a doctor.

There are many private clinics in Thailand where you can go and get checked up and treated. If you have travel insurance ask for a copy of the medical report so you can claim back. The charges at theses clinics are not huge, but it’s good to get it back if you can. I personally have been to a private clinic for food poisoning. I was put on a drip and given a shot to stop the vomiting. 1 hour later, I was as good as gold and only 1100B down. I also spent time in a hospital overnight and was looked after very well and ended up with a 6000b bill.

No one wants to get food poisoning in Thailand so be prepared and know what to do if you do get sick

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