Bali Belly

No one wants to spend their holiday rushing to the bathroom or with an upset stomach, however travel sickness can affect anyone visiting Bali and throw your carefully planned itinerary into chaos. Stomach cramps, vomiting and traveller's diarrhoea are all known as Bali Belly and can leave you feeling too unwell to venture further than your hotel bathroom. The good news is that it's treatable and typically clears up within 24 hours, although sometimes it can take a few days to be feeling yourself again.

bigstock-Travel-Concept-Beautiful-Girl-235751035

What is Bali Belly?

Travellers to Bali can often be affected by what is known as 'Bali Belly' which is essentially an upset stomach or travellers' diarrhoea. Often it's caught within the first week of your holiday as your body adjusts to a new environment with new foods and different bacteria. Usually it clears up within a few days, however particularly serious cases can result in severe dehydration that requires hospitalisation. The bacteria that causes Bali Belly can be contagious and transmit between people so if you're travelling with someone who is unwell, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly and avoid sharing food or drinks.

What causes Bali Belly?

Bali Belly can be caused by bacteria found in local foods or drinking water, although it is most commonly caused by an increase in exotic foods, too much food and an increase in alcohol consumption. The most common bacteria which causes Bali Belly is E. Coli. Although its very tempting to live like a local for the most authentic experience while on holiday, visitors do not have the same immunity as locals and certain practices are likely to leave you sick including drinking tap water or consuming food rinsed in tap water or prepared by someone who has not washed their hands.

What are the symptoms of Bali Belly?

Symptoms of Bali Belly generally include:

  • Abdominal bloating, cramps and pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Urgency/frequency in going to the toilet
  • Diarrhoea
  • Mild temperature
  • General malaise (weakness or discomfort)

How do I avoid getting Bali Belly?

Moderating the changes you make to your diet and lifestyle, particularly in the first few days of your Bali holiday will help to minimise the risk of contracting Bali Belly. Personal hygiene is also an important factor and hand washing should be done thoroughly, particularly after going to the toilet, handling money and before you eat. As long as you are sensible about where you eat, what you eat, water intake and personal hygiene, you should minimise your risk of getting Bali Belly.

What is the treatment for Bali Belly?

If you do happen to contract Bali Belly, simply visit a doctor to receive an injection and some medication which should start to clear up the infection within 24 hours. Other ways of treating the condition include anti-diarrhoea medications such as Imodium and Loperomide and activated charcoal tablets which are available from most supermarkets.

Drinking bottled water will minimise your risks of contracting Bali Belly as well as taking daily acidophilus tablets as an extra preventative. However, it's important to remember that symptoms can vary from the time of infection and the bug may last anywhere from a day to a couple of weeks. If your symptoms persist for more than a week, the infection may become contagious, so interactions with others should also be done carefully.