Foods to avoid outside, rules to follow and what to do if you get sick

There’s egg sauce in the sandwich, or there’s ice in a drink: foods that only seem harmless but can be malicious. Especially abroad, in countries where hygiene conditions are worse, and where food poisoning They are more frequent. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in recent years more than 70% of travelers from these countries have experienced various health problems during their stay or upon returning home. The countries most at risk are those in Central Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America.

The child died in Sharm, Andrea Mirabelle, he was 6 years old: food poisoning was fatal, and dad was dangerous. Mother: “Let’s go back to Palermo.”


Salmonella, but also Campylobacter and Escherichia coli: today there are more than 250 cases of food poisoning in the world, which manifest with different symptoms and are caused by different pathogens, mostly bacteria, viruses and parasites.


Symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, violent abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and sometimes fever. Manifestations that can be confused with those of some forms of parainfluenza, favored in this period by constant changes in temperature.

Traveler’s gastroenteritis

Among them, the main cause of malaise is a form of foodborne gastroenteritis known as “traveler’s diarrhea”. The syndrome manifests itself in the first days of a trip or stay of variable duration and intensity depending on the specific resistance of the individuals, the length of the period and the destination. The latency period of the disease is short, usually within 72 hours and is manifested by abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, accompanied by general malaise, and sometimes fever.

Foods most at risk

Food contamination, especially in summer, can occur in several ways. Some microorganisms are found in the intestines of healthy animals and come into contact with their meat (and then transmitted to those who eat it) during slaughter. Fruits and vegetables can become contaminated if they are washed or irrigated with water contaminated with animal or human faeces. While salmonella can contaminate eggs after infection of the ovary system of chickens. Vibrio bacteria, usually found in water, are filtered and concentrated by seafood, such as oysters and mussels, and thus can cause infection if the food is eaten raw. Infection can also be transmitted to food by operators, during food handling and preparation (this is the case with Shigella bacteria, hepatitis A virus and many other pathogens), by contact with hands and kitchen utensils used for example in the preparation of various foods and not properly disinfected . Cooked and therefore safe food (most microorganisms cannot tolerate temperatures above 60-70°C) can be contaminated by contact with raw food. Moreover, the conditions in which foods are preserved during the various stages of preservation are of great importance: the cold chain, for example, prevents the development and reproduction of certain microorganisms, which need a very large population to be toxic.

Foods to avoid and rules to follow

While it’s true that bacteria and food toxins are more common in the summer months, don’t panic anyway. Because it is enough to follow a few simple rules to significantly reduce the risk of infection.

Do not drink tap water, always drink mineral water from airtight bottles. If you suspect that the water in the services may be contaminated, also use mineral water to brush your teeth;
Drink carbonated drinks from airtight bottles and do not use ice cubes;
drink only packaged (pasteurized and long-life) milk; Alternatively, boil it beforehand;
Avoid raw vegetables, meat, seafood and egg products, raw or slightly cooked fruit, which is served peeled or already cut;
Avoid food preparation, even if cooked, but serve at room temperature; elaborate, manipulative (meat and vegetable salads, pancakes, appetizers, pancakes with cream);
Avoid bulk foods Such as ice cream, drinks, sweets and foods of unknown composition, especially if they are sold by street vendors.

safe food

On the other hand, cooked foods such as personally peeled meats and fruits, coffee, tea, beer, wine and liquor in general can be considered safe. In any case, when returning from a trip to an “at-risk” area, microbiological and parasitic analyzes are recommended, as microorganisms can colonize the human intestine without causing specific symptoms, but still making the “carrier” capable of contaminating others. People.

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