Eating & Drinking in Developing Countries

  • Boil any drinking water you are unsure about – or drink bottled water – but always ask to open the bottle yourself in restaurants, checking the seal is in place – if in doubt stick to carbonated water – and make sure it fizzes!
  • Use bottled or boiled water for cleaning your teeth, don’t open your mouth and drink water in the shower.
  • In developing countries order drinks without ice, avoid roadside food vendors selling ice cream and unwashed fruit.
  • Eat early if you have a buffet that has been sitting out for long periods during the day — food kept warm under food lamps can be a source of infection.
  • Avoid – unpasturized milk, shellfish, soft cheeses, lukewarm food and empty restaurants!
  • Boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it….
  • Apply strict hygiene while away especially after using the bathroom and before you eat food – never use communal, damp towels in public conveniences! Use disposable paper towels or hot air.
  • If you get diarrhoea – drink plenty of clear, clean fluids. It might be helpful to take diarrhoea medication along with you with some rehydrating fluid.
  • If it continues for more than 48 hours and you are unable to drink, or are passing blood – SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION 


Note: This information is designed to complement and not replace the relationship that exists with your existing family doctor or travel health professional.  Please discuss your travel health requirements with your regular family doctor or practice nurse.