Delhi belly, traveler’s sickness… call it what you want, I have it. And I’m sad.
In my tiredness on my first night, I brushed my teeth in the local tap water in my room. BIG mistake. The next night I was up and to the toilet throughout, with the worst migrane I’d ever had to go with it. Luckily, by morning I was ok, and went on my scuba dive. But last night as I got home, it took a turn for the worse and I was vomiting all night.
This morning, when the vomiting didn’t stop, I asked the hotel boy to go get some medicine for me, with some full-fat cola. When I was in my first year of uni I had food poisoning from the state my flatmates kept the kitchen in all the time (why do I attract this type of flatmate???) and the doctor told me that when you have an upset stomach the best thing to do is to drink as much cola as you can handle. It’s always worked for me. The boy came back with some for me, along with some powder that turns water into Pocari Sweat, basically, and some anti vomiting tablets.
So how did I get this way?
I had done my reading on the topic, but hadn’t thought much about it since my family have been to India so many times now and have never been ill. However, I am the type who always gets ill, no matter what. Once when we were in Belize I caught the 24 hour vomiting and sickness bug (norovirus) but I managed to keep everything inside for most of the day until I got back to the ship. I should have known I’d get ill whilst in India.
The first tip is to avoid consuming any local water. Like I said, I brushed my teeth with tap water which was a mistake but other areas to think about include juices which may be watered down with tap water (I think I may have been victim to this), ice in the drinks and raw fruit and salad that has been washed in local water. On my first day I had some porridge with strawberries and grapes in it. So yes, I have been really stupid. I was thinking that since Goa is full of tourists, places would understand that they need to be careful with us. But as I’m increasingly learning, people here may not put health over getting a quick buck out of a pasty tourist like myself.
Another tip is to avoid meat. It’s generally unwise to eat beef here anyway – I mean, India is a country that worships the cow so they will probably not be up to date on how to store and cook it safely. Besides this, cows are left to roam free here – eating mainly burning garbage by the sides of the road. Fish is super yummy here, as are most tofu dishes so it’s not a hard one to follow.
This blogger has written a really great piece on the same topic, and she appears to be much more informed than I am in my sorry ass state. I just hope I can get back to normal in the next few hours so I can go out!