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Bali Belly: How to Avoid It and What to Do When You Get It

Illnesses could come in the most unexpected ways, however, we have to be prepared, and not taking it easily. Bali Belly is the most known illness which likely to come down, that’s why we have put together all the tips to deal with it

Stomach ache

It happens to the best of us- Bali Belly is an unfortunate reality of travel to Bali, or anywhere in the developing world. More often than not, either you or someone in your group is likely to come down with Bali Belly at some stage throughout your trip. There are many types of bacteria that can cause Bali Belly, more formally known as gastroenteritis. The most common causes are poor food and water hygiene. 

Fear not though, there are ways to treat it and get over it as quickly as possible, and things you can do to prevent getting it in the first place. We’ve “been there and done there” many times over! So we have put together some handy tips and recommendations for you that we have found to work best to both prevent Bali Belly, and in the case you find yourself dealing with Bali Belly, how to treat it too.

WHAT IS BALI BELLY?

Bali belly is another name of traveler’s diarrhea or gastroenteritis which is caused by viral or bacterial infection through bacteria, viruses, or parasites in food or water. The main symptoms of Bali belly include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes fever can appear too. Symptoms can start as soon as one hour after ingestion, but usually presents itself within 48 hours.

WHAT CAUSES BALI BELLY?

Bali Belly is usually caused by consuming food or water which is contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasites. The main factors that can contribute to Bali Belly or traveler’s diarrhea include:

Contaminated Food

  • Eating food that has been improperly cooked, stored or treated can allow harmful microorganisms to get into your digestive system

Contaminated Water

  • Drinking water (including brushing your teeth in it) that is not properly purified or comes from unsafe sources can be a major source of gastrointestinal infections

Poor Hygiene

  • Insufficient personal hygiene, in particular not washing hands properly after using the toilet, can contribute to the spread of pathogens

Unsanitary Conditions

  • Eating in restaurants with poor hygiene standards, for example at local Warungs without proper food safety standards, can increase the risk of infection

Undercooked or Raw Food

  • “Bali belly” can be caused by eating undercooked or raw foods that may contain potentially harmful bacteria or pathogens

Lack of Immunity

  • Travelers, especially those from other parts of the world, may not be immune to local bacteria or virus strains, making them more likely to become infected

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BALI BELLY?

Bali Belly often starts with an aching stomach, closely followed by loose bowel movements and/or vomiting. This is usually accompanied by:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue 
  • Bloating
  • Fever
  • Chills 
  • Lightheadedness

These symptoms can continue for quite some days, depending on the bacteria. Generally, after a day or two the worst of it passes and you will be able to go back to enjoying your time in Bali.

If symptoms are severe or prolonged, or if there are signs of dehydration, seeking medical attention is advisable. Hydration and, in some cases, medication to address specific symptoms may be recommended by healthcare professionals.

6 TIPS TO AVOID BALI BELLY

Of course, the best cure is always prevention so here are some tips to help you avoid Bali Belly.

Tip 1

  • Sanitise, sanitise, sanitise! Wash your hands and sanitise as often as possible, particularly before you eat.

Tip 2

  • Brush your teeth with bottled water and also clean your toothbrush with bottled water.

Tip 3

  • Keep your mouth closed in the shower and the pool (also keep a close eye on kids to make sure they are not getting water in their mouth when bathing and swimming too!).

Tip 4

  • Wash fruit and vegetables with bottled water.

Tip 5

  • Sterilise baby bottles with boiling water.

Tip 6

  • You DO NOT need to avoid ice these days as the government regulation now states that ice must be made with filtered water at food and beverage establishments. 

HOW CAN I PREVENT BALI BELLY?

Travelan

travelan medicine to reduce risk of bali belly

We all know that prevention is better than cure. So why not attack the dreaded Bali Belly before it has a chance to ruin your vacation? The good news is that Australia’s secret weapon, Travelan, is on hand to give you total peace of mind, so you can enjoy an island break that’s free of belly blues.

With its impressive 90% clinically proven prevention rate, Travelan is your ultimate holiday sidekick. Unlike other remedies that offer relief after symptoms strike, Travelan’s antibodies work to neutralise bacteria and toxins beforehand. Meaning that your gut is in tip-top shape to savour Bali’s sun-soaked beaches totally worry-free.

Simply take Travelan before any meal or drinking session, and it’ll be on standby in your gut. Then, when you indulge in any potentially contaminated food or drinks that could trigger a Bali Belly flare-up, Travelan swiftly intervenes – latching onto those pesky bacteria and keeping them from attaching to your intestinal wall. Leaving you to dance through your hols without any tummy woes!

Widely available in most Aussie pharmacies and online, Travelan is top of the list as one travel essential that you just can’t afford to skip. But make sure you bring it with you from home as Travelan is not yet available in Indonesia – believe us, your stomach will thank you for it!

THE BEST BALI BELLY TREATMENT OPTIONS

  • Rest in a cool room. Sleep and hydration are essential for kicking Bali Belly.
  • Drink lots of water. Fluids in general will help. Juice can help keep your energy up. Drinks like Pocari Sweat are good also for keeping you hydrated. 
  • Try to eat some plain foods like bread or crackers. You will want to keep your food options quite plain for a few days as your stomach will be extra sensitive for a while. 
  • Stay away from alcohol! It may be tempting to drink through it, but alcohol will only irritate your stomach, causing more pain and sickness. Caffeine will have the same effect.

You can also contact Saline Bali if signs of dehydration are present. Not only will the drip rehydrate you and replace your electrolytes, medications can be added to the drip also. They can even send a doctor with bookings to give you a thorough check-up. This treatment is usually fully claimable if you have comprehensive travel insurance…so be sure to keep your receipt!

Saline-Bali-Belly-article

Charcoal Pills

We encourage you to be prepared with charcoal pills such as Norit or similar. It is good to take these as soon as the symptoms of Bali Belly strike. Norit is a local charcoal tablet and easy to find at most supermarkets, minimarts and pharmacies (it’s also super cheap!). Charcoal helps to absorb the toxins in your body and taking these ASAP can cut down your recovery time.

Norit Bali Belly Local Medicine against Bali Belly

Boost your immune with Fusion Wellness

Doctor consultation with Fusion Wellness  when you have Bali Belly

Adress: Canggu, Ubud, Nusa Dua

Website: Fusionwellness.club

Instagram: @fusionwellness.club 

Whatsapp: +62 812-3752-1662

Bounce back from Bali Belly blues with Fusion Wellness – the go-to health clinic that will have you up and enjoying your hols again in no time! At Fusion Wellness, they are all about replenishing and rejuvenating your vitality, with services that go above and beyond to ensure that you’re feeling like the best version of yourself. 

When sickness strikes and your immune system needs a boost, their Revive and Restore Infusion treatments know exactly what your body needs to help you get back on your feet and out enjoying your vacation. Not only does it improve your energy levels, and nutrient absorption and enhance your immune system, they also use ingredients which are found naturally within the body to help give it the kick-start it needs to a stress-free recovery.

And whilst you’re there, why not treat yourself to a little extra pampering – it is your holiday after all! Fusion Wellness also offers Stemcell and NAD+ Therapy to help combat the signs of aging and boost your serotonin levels. They also offer Ozone Therapy, which adds a little pep in your step by flooding your bloodstream with extra oxygen and kicking your immune system into a higher gear. 

Administered by medically trained doctors and nurses, be sure to check out Fusion Wellness for a range of treatments that will help you bid farewell to your Bali Belly woes – because nothing should stand in the way of you and your Bali adventure!

BABIES AND YOUNG CHILDREN

Baby with Bali Belly at The Doctor

Be especially mindful of Bali Belly in babies and kids as they may not necessarily be able to tell you they are not feeling well and dehydration is particularly dangerous. A movie day with plenty of fresh juices may distract your little one from the discomfort and sweeten the deal a little.

  • It’s a good idea to bring electrolyte sachets like hydrolyte with you from home.
  • You might want to keep food options more simple for kids as their tummies are more sensitive. 
  • Allow them to rest for as long as they are recovering in an air-conditioned room.
  • Keep them out of the sun.
  • Be vigilant about their food and liquid intake. Offer water, or juice if they will not take water. Pocari Sweat is available at mini marts and supermarkets and contains electrolytes and aminos and it is sometimes easier for kids to drink.
  • They may not have an appetite but energy from food is important to be able to process Bali Belly. Crackers like Ritz are easy to digest. 
  • Keep a close eye on symptoms of dehydration such as mucus in stools, or infrequent urination. They may even become a little floppy and very fatigued or have sunken eyes. Dehydration is dangerous for everyone but particularly for young children and babies. If you suspect that your child is dehydrated, take them to see a pediatrician at one of the international standard hospitals.
  • After it passes make sure they get plenty of fluids, fruit and other healthy foods so they can restore their energy.

BALI BELLY AND FLYING

Fatigue on the plane because of Bali Belly

We don’t recommend flying if you are unable to keep food and water down or if you are vomiting and have diarrhea regularly. If you are past the peak of your illness it may be possible, however. 

  • We would recommend asking for an aisle seat.
  • If you find Bali Belly hits during your flight, it is best to let the crew know so they can lock off a bathroom for you to avoid contamination.
  • Don’t restrict your fluids as flying is very dehydrating and harsh on the body.
  • Check your flight booking to see if the fair is flexible, or if your insurance may cover travel disruptions due to illness. 

WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL HELP

Consulting at the doctor because of bali belly

It is important to have travel insurance when travelling to Bali because unexpected illnesses can happen to all of us. If you visit a medical centre or hospital they will often email you a medical report for your insurer if you ask or some insurers will cover the bill on the spot.

  • If symptoms and fever persist for more than 2-3 days.
  • If there is a high range fever present.
  • If food and particularly fluids are not staying down and you are at risk of dehydration.
  • If mucus is present in diarrhea.
  • If vomiting or diarrhea occurs every hour or so.

WHERE TO GO WITH BALI BELLY?

Luckily there are a few medical centres and hospitals in the main tourist areas of Bali but here is a list of Bali Buddies recommended clinics and hospitals.

We hope this information can help you avoid getting the dreaded Bali Belly, or at least helps you to treat it quickly if you do get it!


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PS. Some links in this blog are affiliate links and if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, we receive a commission. We thank you in advance as it helps to keep this website going.

Bali Buddies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by advertising and linking to affiliated sites.

For more information, please visit our disclaimer page.

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