I'm planning a trip to Thailand and Cambodia in January and I'm a bit worried about getting sick from the food. I found these tablets in the chemist that says it reduces the chance of diarrhoea. Has anyone used something like this before? And does it work?
The product is called Travel Bug by Ethical Nutrients:
It has Saccharomyces cerevisiae (bouldardii), a probiotic yeast in it.
I also saw another type with a different ingredient in the chemist as well.
#1 jojoba has been a member since 13/11/2009. Posts: 7
I just come out of Laos where I had a really bad gut problem from eating food on the Bolovan in a small village. (wasn't a good idea) I used ciprox(ciprofloxacin) it's the best and available everywhere.One 500 milligram tablet is enough, believe me.
#3 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Skip the drugs.
Almost always most problems go away quickly and aren't serious. Half the time what people think of as food problems are actualy from not being careful with water, or locals are peparing unusual foreign food and they are unfamiliar how to store or handle it.
Some foods in Thailand (like somtam)use ingredients that are just downright rotten. I've watched Thai people run for the toilet after a paticularly odious portion of somtam laced with plenty of pahla and kapi. Our digestive systems are no different. If a paticular food disagrees with you that's ok, you will be better in 4 hours, don't take drugs for something that is going away anyway.
Watch what the locals do. Usualy they are very careful to wash vegatables and fruit with semi clean tap water after getting them from the market. Tap water might well be 100 times cleaner than the ditch water the fruit was origianly washed in. Notice people shake uncooked greens before eating them? That's to get as much water off as possible.
You are much safer eating at that small local place where all the locals do than the tourist restaurant where no locals eat. Who are you going to trust more, the cook making food for freinds and neighbors, or that surly waitress/cook/dishwasher that deals with 30 rude tourists a day and dreams of giving people gut wrenching trots.
If you do get sick. Stop eating.
It seems so simple, but we westerners have such a problem not gorging for a day. Nothing in, nothing out. Drink plenty of water.
When you do start eating again go easy. Plain rice and tea for the first day, it won't kill you and you'll learn to enjoy the taste of rice.
If you need to take a bus immeadiately, don't. If you have a very limited time on vacation, slow down. Maybe you'll see something worth seeing while relaxing close to your guest house and allowing your body's natural defences to handle whatever it is you've done.
If I had a bad case and it was the day of my flight I'd go down to the local pharmacy. There's a pharmacy on every street corner in SEASia and two on streets with a 7/11. I'd ask for Imodium, and I'd take it if I still had problems just before my flight. But I wouldn't take it if things were getting better. Imodium cures symptoms not disease.
Over use of antibiotics is a problem, and food in SEAsia isn't. Millions of people eat the food every day without a ill affect, hundreds of millions, so can you.
You should talk to someone at your local Travel Clinc, if you have one, to see what they recommend.
I had Cipro for two different trips, and never used them.
I also take Immodium, but only for emergencies. Again, I've never had to use it except once in Nepal many years ago when I had to take a long bus trip. It's great for bunging you up, but it can prolong an illness by keeping the microorganism inside of you when your body really wants to expel it.
sorry, i don't have any information on the preventative meds you mention, but would love to hear how they work for you if you decide to take them.
when i travel i usually carry pepto bismol tables (pink bismuth) to help with gas pains and stomach cramps and immodium (loperamide) in case i have to travel. but like the others have said, i really only take these meds if i have to get from A to B and can't just sit there and ride it out. i have a friend who takes laxatives when he gets a stomach cramp to help moves things long more quickly and swears by it.
the two times i've had serious stomach problems/food poisoning while travelling were in nepal and istanbul, and both times the docs prescribed ciprox. but that's a pretty serious med, and i'd hesitate to take it at the first sign of trouble.
like somsai says, definitely take a look at the cleanliness of a place you've selected to eat and use common sense. it is difficult though, because you can't always see the kitchen area and i know folks who have gotten sick at 5 star hotels just as much as at roadside stands. other good advice from somsai above too on how to recover if you do get sick.
one other thing, if nobody else mentioned it above, is to wash your hands often and definitely before you eat. regards.
And remember rehydrate you can find powders at all druggist and some stores
#7 stagegrip has been a member since 2/10/2009. Posts: 3
And remember rehydrate you can find powders at all druggist and some stores
#8 stagegrip has been a member since 2/10/2009. Posts: 3
Thanks everyone for your replies and advice.
The medication that I mentioned is preventative, and they're not antibiotics. They're probiotics, i.e. friendly bacteria for the gut.
Anyway, I just did some quick search on google relating to it and there seems to be studies that show that the probiotic does reduce the chance of travelers diarrhoea.
I would just be interested to hear whether anyone's actually taken this probiotic or something similar and how they found it.
#9 jojoba has been a member since 13/11/2009. Posts: 7
Jo jo pii ba! I can't believe I spent so much time replying in good faith to a post on junk science fad medicine for a problem that hasn't yet occured.
Well maybe someone will read it.
I enjoyed your post Somsai, and will take it on board for my next trip.
Keep them up!
#12 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180
Somsai, please don't feel offended. I definitely read your post and found it helpful.
#13 jojoba has been a member since 13/11/2009. Posts: 7
Somsai's advice is indeed useful.
However, don't necessarily knock the idea of probiotics as an aid in avoiding gastro problems when travelling. A couple of years ago, my wife and I took probiotics before a trip to India. As everyone knows, India is notorious for travellers getting sick - indeed we met many who were, or had been. We sailed through with almost no stomach problems at all (my wife did feel a bit queezy after a buffet meal in a hotel. Buffets are ALWAYS worth avoiding). Its impossible to say that the probiotics were the only reason for this; we were also very careful with hygiene and considered carefully what we ate and drank. However, we were convinced enough to take them again for our forthcoming trip round South East Asia - we feel they definitely give you a head start.
When talking probiotics, I don't mean those silly yoghurt drinks. The ones we are taking are Advanced 40+ Acidophilus probiotics. They cost £20 for a bottle which is enough for both of us for the pre trip preps.
If you are interested in any of this, take a look at this thread on IndiaMike, an Indian traveller website:
Well those yogurt drinks have proven 75% more effective than Advanced 40+ Acidophilus probiotics, and they also have the added side benefit of severly reducing the incidence of various colon cancers.
For truly all round protection not only against various cancers Deli Belly, and imbalances there is a scientificaly proven local method that has tested 956% more effective than either Advanced 40+ Acidophilus probiotics or the various yogurt cures.
Some call it the baci, I preffer the more common suhk wan.
An added benefit is that you get to parade around wearing strings on ones wrist that say to all that notice, "I took part in a truly cultural experience", good for a hangover too.