Bali Belly is a generic term used to refer to traveler’s diarrhea, especially when suffered by those who have traveled to Bali. However, just about any traveler anywhere in the world may suffer from digestive tract disorder that typically causes abdominal cramps and loose stools. It can also be considered as a form of gastroenteritis, and while it is usually not very serious, it can make you feel quite miserable and ruin your trip. Those who travel to Bali tend to be more prone to developing Bali Belly because of the stark change in climate, sanitary practices and standards, and social conditions.
What Are The Causes & Symptoms Of Bali Belly?
Primarily, you may end up suffering from traveler’s diarrhea as a result of consuming an infectious agent, such as from drinking contaminated water and eating contaminated food. The stress of traveling can also cause Bali Belly.
During your visit to Bali (or somewhere else), you may end up suffering from traveler’s diarrhea at any point, or even when you have returned home. When suffering from Bali Belly, some of the most common signs and symptoms include abdominal cramps, frequent and persistently loose stools, fever, nausea, vomiting, or bloody stools. Traveler’s diarrhea can also cause dehydration, which must be quickly treated to avoid more serious problems.
How To Prevent Bali Belly?
According to research, it is easier to fall ill when traveling. However, you can lower your risk of developing Bali Belly by keeping in mind the following preventative tips:
- Food from street vendors should be avoided
- Food that is moist at room temperatures, such as buffet offerings and sauces, should be avoided
- Foods you eat should be hot when served and should be well cooked
- Fruits like berries and grapes that do not have to be peeled and salads should be avoided
- Only fruits like avocados, bananas, and oranges, which can be peeled, should be consumed
- Raw or undercooked fish, meat, and shellfish should be avoided
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While it would be a bit harsh to consider Bali as an area with poor sanitation, it would still be best to avoid consuming unsterilized water, such as from a stream, tap or well. Ice cubes made from local water and fruit juices made with local water should be avoided. When using local water, make sure you boil it thoroughly. Beverages that you can drink without being concerned include beer, bottled or canned carbonated beverages, hot beverages prepared with boiled water, bottled water, and wine.
Additionally, avoid sliced fruits as they may have been washed with contaminated water. Prevent water from getting into your mouth when showering. Even when brushing your teeth, use boiled or bottled water. Avoid swimming unless you are certain that the water is not contaminated.
Some other preventative tips you should remember include:
- Before you use dishes and utensils, make sure you clean and dry them
- Try to use food items that do not require too much handling
- Use a hand sanitizer to wash your hands frequently, especially before eating
How To Treat Bali Belly?
Usually, an episode of Bali Belly may last for a day or two, or up to a week, and in most cases, you may not have to take measures to treat it. It is also possible to experience traveler’s diarrhea multiple times during a trip. If you or someone else ends up suffering from Bali Belly and no improvement seems to be occurring, the symptoms can be relieved by taking certain medications, such as most cases improve within one to two days without treatment and clear up completely within a week. However, you can have multiple episodes of traveler’s diarrhea during one trip.
- Anti-motility agents and/or medications
- Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
The use of bottled oral rehydration products and oral rehydration salts (ORS) solution is also recommended to stay hydrated.
When suffering from Bali Belly, caffeine and dairy products should be avoided to prevent the symptoms from getting aggravated. Since fluids will have to be maintained, beverages like canned fruit juices, clear soup, decaffeinated soda, sports drinks, or weak tea should be consumed. Complex easy-to-eat carbohydrates can also be consumed as diarrhea begins to improve.
There is nothing worse than getting ill in a foreign country while on a leisurely trip, especially when you are visiting a place like Bali. While Bali Belly is often experienced by foreigners who visit the island, you can avoid it and prevent it from spoiling your trip by keeping all of the above in mind.