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6 steps to avoid Delhi belly


6 steps to avoid Delhi belly

story by: Anna Sarjeant

Delhi belly. The traveller's trots, the squirts, (the s-word with an asterisk), the runs, Tommy troubled tummy – whatever you prefer to label traveller’s diarrhoea, it happens to the best of us.

In India they say it’s pretty much unavoidable. But what does that mean? A month of packaged chips and dry noodles? We think not. Here’s how to prevent the inevitable.

1. Pack it
First things first, make sure you have the following to prevent or treat a gurgling gut:

  • Purifying tablets – usually in packs of 24 and very handy for purifying contaminated water
  • Rehydrating salts – because dehydration in India will knock you for six
  • Imodium – long train journey ahead? Bung up until you can next access a lavatory
  • And on that note…Toilet roll! A luxury in India, make sure you always have an accessible stash. 

2. Boil it
India’s water is a breeding ground for germs, so where you can, boil it. A couple of minutes at bubbling point should do the trick. If you can’t access a kettle, pack a few water purifying tablets, one tablet to one litre will prevent your insides from disintegrating. And of course, always avoid the ice-cubes; unless you take your e-coli frozen.

3. Bottle it
Annoying as it is (especially in a country as hot as India) try to buy bottled water every time you need to rehydrate. We know it’s less cost-efficient and not exactly eco-friendly, but it does reduce the chance of an all-nighter with the toilet bowl. Always check the seal isn’t brokenandwe recommend sticking to brands such as Bisleri, Kinley and Aquafina, which are all Pepsi and Coca Cola owned.

4. Wash it
Wash it, wash it and wash it again – it pays to be a little OCD in India. Whether it’s your fruit, veg or your hands, give them a good scrub. But don’t make the rookie mistake of washing everything in the water you haven’t yet boiled. It also helps to carry a small hand sanitizer, cooling as well as bacteria-killing, put one at the top of your kit list.

5. Cook it
​Get savvy about what touches your lips. Where possible, order from vendors who cook their produce in front of your eyes, it’s fun to watch and you can request an extra cremation. Standing in long queues isn’t exactly on everyone’s Indian bucket list, but frequenting the popular hot-spots often means they are reputable amongst the locals.

Avoiding meat can also help prevent a massacre in your hostel bathroom; and easily done in a country that dishes up some of the globe’s tastiest vegetarian options. Going veggie isn’t all smooth-sailing though – avoid the salad as it’ll probably have been washed in tap water, ​and if you come across the most aromatic beef Rogan Josh this side of Jaipur; give into temptation, what’s the worst that can happen? Well, the squirts actually. But that brings us nicely onto…

6. Treat it
So it’s happened. A trotting good race to the toilet. What now? As well as plenty of rest, it’s vital you rehydrate. You’ll need fluids that contain some salt, bicarbonate and sugar, so for the first (and only) time in your life, doctors recommend you drink Coke. Better still if it’s flat; the sugar and salt content is exactly what your washed-out insides are craving. You can also make your own rehydration solution by combining a teaspoon of salt and six teaspoons of sugar into one litre of water. Tasty? Absolutely not. But it’s not like you’ll have your appetite back for a week anyway.

Gone the other way?
Pack prunes. And thank your lucky stars it has gone the other way!​

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