Food and water risks – an article by Heidi Marchena, pharmacist at Botica di Servicio

Botica di Servicio ArubaARUBA - When traveling abroad, it is most likely contaminated water and food that possibly can make you sick and cause disease rather than the potential mosquito bites. Many of the infectious diseases start with the contamination of food and water, but these can also be transmitted by fecal-oral exposure. As these bacteria, viruses and parasites are shed in human stools, and if the proper hygiene is not in place this can lead to contaminated surfaces, which in turn by a mere touch can translate into contracting a disease.

Water is a harbor for all sorts of contamination and can not only spread disease from ingestion, but as well from recreational activities. Swimming in contaminated pond, lake, ocean and river waters will bring illness, especially if the water is accidentally swallowed.

Food selection is important when travelling abroad. Always assume that any raw food can be contaminated; from raw vegetables in a salad, to fruits, to unpasteurized dairy products. Only trust foods that you yourself have washed and peeled. Do not eat shellfish that has been uncooked. Meat should be cooked thoroughly to kill any possible tapeworms, parasites and other germs that could be contaminating it. In addition, do not eat cooked food that has been sitting for a while. This is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Another piece of advice is to never purchase food from a street vendor as you are not certain if it was prepared in sanitary conditions or handled properly. In regard to the consumption of water trust only bottled water in sealed bottles or boil your water for 1 to 3 minutes and allow coming to room temperature.

This articles was written by Heidi Marchena, pharmacist at Botica di Servicio

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