Bali Belly; the infamous illness that affects many travellers during their adventures to one of Indonesias’ most popular island.
Prior to my most recent trip there I was concerned that having never visited Bali before that I would be the unlucky one and catch it. Luckily enough for me – most likely as a result of having grown up in Africa – I managed to avoid Bali Belly. However, my travel buddy Jordan wasn’t as lucky as I was and by day 3 was bedridden thanks to a severe bout of Bali Belly.
It’s hard to know exactly what caused Jordan’s Bali Belly; for the most part we both ate the same things, or at least tried each others foods (except for eggs as I dislike them thoroughly so this is the one thing Jordan ate that I didn’t), we always drank bottled water, the only thing that differed between us was the types of alcoholic drinks we had.
Also known as travellers’ diarrhoea, an upset stomach, or simply gastro, Bali Belly can affect people in various ways and intensities. Some people may only feel nauseous, whilst others may get physically sick from it for quite some time.
Although I didn’t have to endure the pain Bali Belly causes, I was present for when Jordan got very sick and had to do a fair bit of research on how to best deal with it. So here are my top tips on what to do and what to take for future Bali goers to reduce their chance of contracting the illness.
Things to avoid:
↠ In general avoid tap water – drink bottled water, brush your teeth with bottled water, and avoid ice in your drinks just incase it is made from tap water,
↠ Be cautious when eating fruits and vegetables – some restaurants may wash their fruits and veggies under tap water,
If you do happen to get Bali Belly avoid the following things until you’re fully recovered:
↠ Spicy foods,
↠ Spending excessive amounts of time in the hot sun,
What to take if you get Bali Belly:
The internet will tell you an endless list of various things you can take if you happen to get Bali Belly but from our experience I would recommend the following:
↠ Yakult (can be found in supermarkets such as Pepito for about AU$3 for a standard packet),
↠ Pocari Sweat (again can be found in almost all supermarkets and is cheap as chips, it’s a sports drink but will help to re-hydrate you so in addition to drinking plenty of water daily take one of these every few days – if not daily – to boost your hydration),
↠ Ginger lollies (ginger is remarkably well known for helping to settle the stomach so really you could take anything that contains ginger whether it be tea or sugar free sweets, we opted for the sweets and they even helped me maintain my motion sickness – again we found these in Pepito supermarkets). We opted for the plain ginger flavour however there are a mixture of flavours including orange, lemon, and strawberry available.
You can additionally opt to take medication, specifically diarrhoea tablets but I would suggest only taking these if you aren’t able to be near a toilet because if you stop your body from doing what it needs to it means the bacteria causing Bali Belly will not be able to leave your system.
Of course if you have more severe symptoms or it doesn’t pass after a few days I would suggest going to a doctor – you can find reliable ones through your embassies website or travel insurance company.
Note: all of the above are just my personal suggestions from experience and by no means do I have any medical knowledge so please consult a doctor or medical practitioner if necessary.
Featured Image: Nook, Seminyak
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