Food and stomach problems


Nov 2nd, 2005, 03:47 PM
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Food and stomach problems

We are going on our first safari in January. In fact it is our first trip to Africa. I was just wondering if people tend to have a lot of stomach problems from the food. What about food poisoning? Do you have to be really choosey with what food and restaurants you eat in?
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Nov 2nd, 2005, 03:58 PM
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My husband and I were in Kenya early this year and neither of us had any stomach problems from the food at all. We weren't particularly careful about what we ate but did stick with bottled water throughout. Now that I've said that I've probably just jinxed myself for next time
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Nov 2nd, 2005, 04:27 PM
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We were in Tanzania last year (so very long ago) and had no stomach problems. We were a tiny bit careful about what we ate, and very careful with our drinking water.

Of course we packed Pepto, Immodium and Cipro just in case.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 05:20 AM
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Never had any tummy problems. But always travel with Pepto and Cipro (anywhere in th world), just in case.

Stick with bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth (though this isn't really necessary if traveling to South Africa - you don't mention where in Africa you'll be).

A friend's husband seems to get one but of "stomach grippers" each trip, though she's always fine even eating the same foods. It may only be a particular tummy that reacts to whatever... maybe the fresh air.

We've eaten in restaurants, hotels, lodges, rustic camps, and boxed meals - no problems. Just be prepared to enjoy; most meals are outstanding, especially desserts, but have the Pepto, Lomotil or Cipro, if needed.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 05:26 AM
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I guess depends what part of Africa and what kind of trip. I have been to the southern part 6 times 3 weeks each (Zambia/Moz and southward-independent travel) and the food was fine (including buying fresh meat, vegetables, bread etc.) The only incident was when a friend of mine decided to taste a locally brewed drink
in a village North East Namibia (oh well the rest of us knew better).

Since you are probably going with an organized group you should really have no worry at all.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 09:07 AM
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Stvmic, been to Africa 4 times (Egypt once and East Africa 3 times). One member of family got sick in Egypt but none in East Africa. Used a mix of lodges, hotels, and permanent tented camps in East Africa and boxed lunches for all day drives. No problems. Those establishments can not afford to have guests getting sick from food. Use precautions as mentioned earlier. Don't think we passed up any food for fear of getting sick. Even drank juices. Personal hygiene may have more to do with staying healthy. Wash before eating and in particular while on drives and box lunches. Wife always had good supply of those little "wipes" along. Have a great first safari and please provide a report when you return. Dick
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 10:08 AM
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We have been to Kenya Tanzania and Egypt with not one single bit of stomach misery **Knock on wood! However this is only because we nearly DIED in Greece (we are talking hospital experience) from stomach trauma and it made us EXTREMELY careful:
Bottled water only (check caps to be sure they are sealed)
Bush teeth with bottled water
Avoid uncooked veggies particularly if they have high water content i.e lettuce
Avoid juices and fruit that you don't peel
No rare meat.
If you get a case of TD be careful with the immodium.. sometimes your body is trying to get rid of that stuff for a reason, by binding yourself up you allow the bacteria to multiply!!!
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Nov 4th, 2005, 08:45 PM
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just walked in the door from Zambia, the only problem I had was I was showering and an elephant looked over the fence and I swallowed some water, threw up for 1/2 a day and was fine. (don't know if it was from the water or the shock of seeing an elephant watching me showering!)
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Nov 5th, 2005, 02:43 AM
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Welcome back Dennis
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Nov 5th, 2005, 04:34 AM
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Welcome home!! Can't wait to hear more about your trip. My goodness, an elephant at your shower - what a treat (except for the upset stomach).

More, more please.

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Nov 5th, 2005, 05:16 AM
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Karibi nyumbani! Iím not exactly a doctor, but Iíd say the cause of the stomach upset was neither the elephant nor the shower water. It must have been something else.

Iíve never had any serious stomach problems in Kenya.
I try to keep to bottled water, but Iíve had some tap water in Nairobi hotels when Iíve run out of bottled water Ė and no problem. I never brush my teeth with bottled water. I donít bathe in donkeyís milk either, though that could be interesting. Iíve only used bottled water for personal hygiene when thereís been no water in the taps.

I eat everything Ė except dead animals Ė, even street food like roasted cassava and I havenít had any problems (yet).

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Nov 5th, 2005, 05:18 AM
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What a cool story. You'll never forget that elephant! Loved it.
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Nov 5th, 2005, 05:20 AM
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I think an elephant in the shower would have the same impact on most of our tummies. But, oh, how exciting!

Welcome home. Can't wait to read the rest of your report.
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Nov 5th, 2005, 05:45 AM
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Dennis must have been taking Malarone Ė thatís the explanation!
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Nov 5th, 2005, 06:51 AM
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I have been to Africa three times: Kenya, Tanzania and southern Africa (Cape Town, J'burg, Kruger, Chobe, Vic Falls). I only had intestinal problems twice, and that may have been from water. No matter how careful I was, it happened, and since I drank only bottled water, I suspect perhaps water from the shower that may have gotten in my mouth. If you eat in recommended restaurants you should be okay, and also at the lodges where you stay. Nothing is guaranteed, but I found the food at the lodges and at Kirawira (in Tanz) more than good and never got sick. Immomdium should do the trick. Some people recommend taking Pepto Bismol tablest every day to ward off any potential problems. I did not. the Immodium worked well, as did Lamotil (a prescription). Talk to your doctor, and check out Centers for Disease Control too. I would avoid at all costs any food that has to be washed after being peeled. I did not eat salads nor fruit which had been peeled. Given that our digestive systems are not prepared for foreign food, you should expect minor problems, but I know folks who've never had any. Have a great great trip.
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Nov 5th, 2005, 09:48 AM
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My husband got very sick the 2nd day on safari at Chitabe Trails and we still don't know what caused it-everyone was eating the same things although he did eat a canned oyster that first night so maybe he just got a bad one? It started with vomiting so he couldn't take any of the meds we had brought and ended up getting an injection from the camp manager on the orders of a Dr. in Maun. The injection did help but not completely so by the time we got to Jao, the Dr. decided that he should take a look at him and he was flown to Maun to see the Scottish Dr. there(an expert in malaria and Aids) where he was given another injection and antibiotics to take for the rest of the trip. Wilderness handled the whole situation beautifully but I was wishing I had taken along those syringes that I mentioned to our travel Dr.! He did stop taking his malarone just in case that was the culprit but the Dr.s thought it probably wasn't.
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Nov 6th, 2005, 02:49 AM
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There is a school of thought that many illnesses are caused by transmission from hand to mouth. It can be from touching any surface. The important thing is to keep washing your hands.
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Nov 6th, 2005, 09:06 AM
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There is a lot of handshaking there-people are very friendly and polite, so yes, handwashing is most important.
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Nov 6th, 2005, 11:33 AM
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First trip to Kenya I thought I had a bug. However what had happened was I discovered wonderful fruit juice and fresh fruits... tatsy melons etc. Just overdosed a bit on the fruit. I've had a flu there... but could have been picked up anywhere in the world.

Hotel water in Kenya is OK for teeth washing... but I do just drink bottled.

A tip is not to buy the hotel water if possible... but to stock up at Nakumat or Uchumi.. or you'll pay 3 or 4 times supermarket prices.

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Nov 6th, 2005, 03:35 PM
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Have you seen some of the posts from people returning from safari who have gained almost a pound a day? While such weight gain may not be desirable, it should be reassuring if you are concerned about stomach troubles.

My suggestions:

Take some small bottles of waterless liquid soap for frequent hand washing.

Use bottled water even for teeth brushing if you have a sensitive stomach.

If boiled water is provided at camps or lodges, still buy bottled. This is being extra cautious.

My friend takes something called acidophelus (sp?) that may be over the counter or doctor prescribed. She describes it as helpful stomach bacteria that counteracts any bad stuff you might ingest. She swears by it and has not had any digestive problems on trips we have shared, including one to Africa.

Bring Pepto tablets, Imodium, and doctor prescribed Cipro just in case.

Have a good trip and please report back on the food and everything.
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