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Resources >> Travel Cheat Sheet of the Month: How to Protect Yourself from Foodborne Illness
One of the best things about traveling to another country is trying local, authentic cuisine. However, it pays to know a few basic rules so you don’t become one of the 10 million overseas travelers to suffer a bout of traveler’s diarrhea or other foodborne illnesses each year. Luckily, you can protect yourself from foodborne health problems (and spending half your trip visiting restrooms) with these easy-to-follow tips:
1) Know before you go: Understand that the food you eat at home isn’t necessarily “safer” than food abroad; it’s often simply that your body just isn’t accustomed to foreign fare. According to Independent Traveler, one important difference between home-grown and foreign foods is the use of more “natural” fertilizers abroad, which can carry bacteria that could cause intestinal distress. One of the most important measures you can take to avoid getting sick overseas is to research the quality of food in the specific region you’ll be staying in. Visit the CDC’s website for country-specific health information and follow these prompts: Choose your host country, click Stay Healthy and Safe, and finally, select Eat and drink safely.If you still need advice or reassurance, consult others who have previously traveled to the location (TripAdvisor.com is a great tool for this!). TravelAssist members can even call us for advice.2) Use common sense: Your best defense against foodborne illness is to use common sense. Keep in mind that some of the advice below will depend on where you’re traveling. Risks in Europe, for example, may be lower than in less developed nations. Here are some safe food habits the CDC suggests you follow while abroad – similar to what you’d follow at home: