I am about to go abroad for a fortnight in the sun and wonder if you have any tips about food health abroad. We know the familiar advice that it’s best to drink bottle water and be careful about salads but is there anything else that might be useful? Helen Bedford, Daventry
Yes, Helen, when travelling abroad, especially to developing countries avoid tap water and any drinks with ice in them. Use bottled water to brush your teeth and take care not to consume water whilst showering or bathing. If water is contaminated it could cause hepatitis, cholera and typhoid fever; even a small amount could make you ill.
Other things to avoid are raw fruits and vegetables which may have been washed in contaminated water. Only eat fruit that you peel yourself – bananas, melons and citrus fruits are a safe bet. If you do eat cooked food it must still be hot. Best to avoid eggs, poultry, seafood and most definitely raw or undercooked meat, and any prepared food that has been left out of the fridge for some time. Give a wide berth to unpasteurized milk and dairy produce, especially soft cheese, and do not be tempted by food prepared by street vendors.
Thoroughly cooked fruits and vegetables should be safe to eat, as should thoroughly cooked fish, meat, poultry and eggs! If you do get sick it’s important you keep drinking fluids to prevent dehydration. I always take over the counter medication in my bag in case of Travelers Tummy.