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How to Avoid Delhi Belly While Travelling in India

How to Avoid Delhi Belly While Travelling in India

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By Amelia Bristow

Last updated: 14th March 2024

We all want to enjoy our time on our travels, so here are some tips to make your time in India delightful! Delhi is a lively city offering many beautiful historic sites to explore. Plus, Delhi also provides some of the best authentic Indian food, which we all want to enjoy. Travellers can get a sickness called Delhi belly due to their stomachs not being accustomed to the local food and water. The illness can last up to 14 days, but our tour guides are here to help you avoid this during your trip. We have several incredible India trips for you to look into and safely enjoy your time with our tour guides' support. Here are some precautions to learn to avoid that icky stomach so you can experience all of India’s greatest adventures. 

What is 'Delhi Belly'?

Delhi Belly is a stomach sickness from the food and water in India. This could happen to any traveller who is not used to the different conditions of food or liquid that they would be consuming whilst in this country. 

Symptoms of Delhi Belly

The symptoms of Dehli Belly sickness include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, and can occasionally break out into a fever.

Our tips for avoiding Delhi Belly  

Avoid the Tap Water

man carrying water bottles by train in India

Bottled water is the way to go when in India. It is the safest way to ensure that your water is fresh and stop your stomach turning bad. When buying bottled water, check that the lids are unopened as well! Another way to ensure that water is safe to use is boiling the water first! By boiling water, you can effectively make your water clean to drink and use. 

Wash your hands

Washing hands in a sink

Washing your hands is a hygienic habit to do wherever you are! We should be washing our hands before and after eating. In India, they culturally use their hands to eat and frequently have wash basins in restaurants or nearby. You’ll be able to find water basins either inside restaurants or close to it. Having the basins nearby makes washing hands easy to keep on top of and will become a natural habit for you. 

‘No ice please’ 

mango lassi Indian drink

Ice is a risk that is not worth it if you want to explore India to the fullest. It may seem gutting that travelling in a hot country, and you’d love some refreshing ice in your drink. But let's avoid it as the ice could be made with tap water and you do not want to jeopardise your time in India.

Stick to the hot food 

Indian busy market

Here we are team steam! Let's choose hot foods over cold foods. With cold food, it can be uncertain how long it has been left for. But when we see the steam, you can know it's been heated up fresh! Another food to avoid is any buffets because you could be unsure how long it's been sitting around.

Avoid fruit and vegetables that you can’t peel

Woman selling veg at a market in India

Another way to avoid this sickness is to select fruits or vegetables that have a peel. The peel is a protective barrier from anything nasty that can upset your stomach. Other fruits and vegetables can be eaten, but ensure to wash them thoroughly before with boiled water or bottled water. 

What to pack

Backpacker in India

To avoid sickness in India, here are some items you could pack to help you along the way or ease any symptoms (stomach pains, fever, being physically sick). By packing these items, you’ll be prepared to tackle the sickness quickly with medicines and items that help keep areas clean.

  • Hand gel/sanitiser 
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Paracetamol
  • Anti-diarrhoea medicine
  • Re-hydration sachets (ideal to use after sickness) 
  • Pro-biotic boosts (supplement version)

How long does 'Delhi Belly' last

Delhi Belly would typically resolve after 14 days on average. The sickness may resolve quicker than 14 days if you are taking the recommended medication to subside the symptoms. However, if this does last longer than 14 days or if you are experiencing dizziness, fever or any bleeding you should consult a doctor.  

What to do if you DO get sick

After doing what you can to avoid Delhi Belly and unfortunately you find yourself getting sick then here's the plan... take the recommended medication (paracetamol and anti-diarrhoea tablets), drink bottled water to help your body re-hydrate and flush out the sickness too. When you feel comfortable eating then opt for plain hot foods like plain rice or naan. There is also a traditional dish called Khichdi that is typically eaten in India when you are sick. The dish consists of rice, lentils, cumin seeds and ginger which typically settle the stomach. Lastly, take it easy and rest up. Recovery comes with resting when you can. So, try your best to sleep it off and soon you'll be feeling back to normal. 

India is a fantastic place to visit and we want to ensure you enjoy it to the fullest. Our trips to India are always supplied with a guide, so if you’re ever unsure about any food, they will be there to help and give advice. If you're looking for more advice on travelling to India then check out our travel guide. The 7 tips above will help you avoid Delhi belly whilst travelling. You’ll be waking up and easily going about your day without any sickness, and seeing all the gorgeous sights of Delhi!


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