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Don't Drink the Water!

Tips for Keeping your trip to China Illness-free

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Montezuma's Revenge. Delhi Belly. Slang terms abound for traveler's diarrhea, the stomach cramps and diarrhea that can wreak havoc with the most carefully planned vacation.

   Although traveler's diarrhea usually runs its course within a few days, the best strategy is to avoid getting it altogether. "Common sense is the rule," says Michele, a representative with Far and Away Adventures, a company that has been offering tours to the mainland China since 1989. "We find if tourists follow simple suggestions they will save themselves a lot of discomfort and misery."

  Here are simple tips for avoiding this common traveler's illness during your next trip to China. With one exception, all come courtesy of Far and Away Adventures.

Tips for Avoiding Traveler's Diarrhea:

  • Don't drink the water from the tap. Always boil before drinking.
  • When brushing your teeth, don't use tap water. Use bottled or boiled water (often provided in the hotel rooms).
  • When purchasing water on the street, make sure the seal is unbroken.
  • Do not request salads in a restaurant, as they are washed with tap water.
  • Peel any fruit you buy on the street.
  • Generally, do not eat food from street vendors unless your national or local guide gives the okay.
  • If you do decide to try street food, avoid stalls that do not plastic, disposable utensils (this tip is from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Web site).
  • Lastly, bring Immodium with you in case you do get a slight case of the runs, and Gravol to settle nausea. Go to my Previous Features
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