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Is illness from food common?

Brisbane, Australia
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Is illness from food common?

Wondering how common it is for travellers to get sick e.g vomiting, dirroreah in this part of the world? I know the rules of travelling and being careful with what food you buy from where, water, ice etc, but is it common to get sick despite these precautions?

lewes uk
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1. Re: Is illness from food common?

Hi,

The only time I got ill in LPB was when I ate in a pizza place, and it was pretty mild, when I eat local I've always been fine. Watch the sudden change of diet and take the obvious precautions like hand washing. Luckily most Lao dishes are not over spicy which can cause a disturbance to the digestion. I'm sure you'll be fine.

cheers

Vientiane
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2. Re: Is illness from food common?

It happens.

Luang Prabang, Laos
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3. Re: Is illness from food common?

Ice here is in the main filtered and water should be bought in sealed bottles. We keep a box of pills at our business for travellers that are suffering food poisoning and believe me we give away heaps per week. On most occasions the traveller is able to identify where the illness has come from. In LP it seems to be from the night market, in particular salads as they are often not washed in filtered water. Cooked foods like chicken, pork, fish etc. seem to be fine as long as you are buying it freshly cooked. The other source seems to be the baguette rolls from the market as homemade mayonaisse is often used and may sit in the sun for 2 or 3 days before used (eggs - not good) as is the ham. Personally I would not eat them as you are asking for trouble. Having said this it does not really matter where you are in the world as it can happen anywhere and often in top restaurants as seen in Denmark recently where the worlds No.1. Restaurant (Nomo I think) had serious food poisoning issues with many guests.

Vientiane
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4. Re: Is illness from food common?

Good point regarding mayonnaise, John. It was close to 40 here yesterday and the jars were sitting in the sun.

Vientiane, Laos
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5. Re: Is illness from food common?

Don't overly worry about it to be honest!

In around five years of traveling in Asia I have been physically sick once and had the runs a few times but nothing major what so ever!

In Laos there is no need to avoid ice it is all made hygienically in a factory (I believe mainly in 'Bo Ice Factory') No one makes their own ice as it's so cheap to buy! Water again is all fine, I've heard rumors that the tap water in Vientiane is technically supposed to be OK to drink but I've never tried it and neither has anyone else I know.

As for the food my honest suggestion is just to go for it! I.e. just eat without worry as it's usually the best thing to do! The only things I avoid are foods which have blatantly been lying around for ages. Remember that many people get a upset stomach not because the food is off but because it is different and has different types of bacteria etc... To put it in to perspective each time my wife has been to the UK (She is from Laos) She has gotten an upset stomach! Not because the food is bad but just because it's different!

Eat some live yoghurt and drink the Betagen type milk drinks when you arrive as that certainly helps but yeh on the whole don't worry and just enjoy yourself!

Santa Cruz, Cal
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6. Re: Is illness from food common?

last time in Vientiane I ate some Shrimp from a Lao place that probably didn't sell too much shrimp so I got sick, partly my fault for ordering it, I knew better, shaved ice with sugarcane has got me before, but as a whole Ive had no trouble but it happens

Jersey
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7. Re: Is illness from food common?

As others have said, common sense is the thing that keeps you safe. Cooked food is about as safe as you can get. Don't use egg based sauces that have obviously been out in the sun for ages - especially at food stalls. Salads in restaurants are ok but at food stalls avoid them as probably won't be washed with water than your system can process. Ice has been OK everywhere we have been throughout the region.

The other thing to be careful of is dehydration. Drink plenty of water as dehydration can also lead to you getting a bout of diarrhoea (your body tries to produce more water via your colon that then causes the inevitable problem in your bowels!).

Also worth taking some rehydration salt sachets with you. After a day out where you have been sweating all day you can take a sachet in the evening.

england
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8. Re: Is illness from food common?

Never had any problems ther or in the rest of Lao. Bottled water as in the rest Of Asiabut,having said that, it's nothing like India!

Vientiane, Laos
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for Vientiane
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9. Re: Is illness from food common?

I have found lao to be surprisingly safe for food, and havee never been sick, eating locally all over the country, and from lao food markets 3 nights a week when home in Vnte.

You often do see bad food storage (the mayonnaise), and practices (cooked and uncooked chicken chopped on the same old block that has never had more than a wipe with a damp cloth for cleaning) - but they must be doing something right. I am by no means immune to food poisining - have been hospitalised in India, Pakistan and eastern Turkey before through bad food - but Laos has been very good to me foodwise, touch wood.

Kurashiki, Japan
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for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
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10. Re: Is illness from food common?

See post #2 for the most reasonable answer.

I spend 2 months out of the year in various parts of Southeast Asia (or other developing countries). The last time I felt cr@ppy (no vomiting, but general ill-stomach feeling) was in Laos in 2012, both my Lao friend & I felt that way after eating local Lao food for lunch. (All we ate was local Lao food for the 10 days we traveled together!)...