How To Avoid Parasites While Travelling - The Viking Abroad
How to avoid getting parasites while travelling. Nothing is worse than ruining your vacation by being glued to the toilet and not enjoying your trip. This article will give you tips how to avoid parasites.
Parasite, parasites, travel stomach
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06 Dec How To Avoid Parasites While Travelling

Nothing is worse than ruining your vacation by being glued to the toilet or not being able to trust a fart. All I can say is, I feel you. After travelling in Africa and living in Ecuador, I have experienced parasites and stomach flu.

How to avoid parasites while travelling

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A few months after I moved to Ecuador, I felt it coming unexpectedly. Strangely, I thought I had built immunity against it since I have lived there for four months already.

Skinny me, lost probably 2kg after dealing with parasites for two weeks! Two weeks is too long. Everything I ate came out shortly after, it was horrible.

If you see changes in your digestion, you should go to the doctor if it lasts more than three days. I went to the doctor after two weeks and almost before I entered he said. “You have a parasite.” I didn’t need to hand in samples.

The doctor looked at my eyes, tongue and pressed my stomach. He gave me antibiotics and a pink syrup to drink three times a day. The symptoms of the parasite went away after two days.

What are the symptoms of parasites?

  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling tired
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Gas or bloating.
  • Dysentery
  • Rash or itching around the rectum or vulva.
  • Stomach pain or tenderness.

The differences with food poisoning and parasites are that food poisoning usually happens shortly after you ate something and parasites can take some time to show the symptoms.


How to prevent parasites

The most important thing you should do before travelling is getting valid travel insurance – you never know what could happen while travelling. Doctor visits, tests or hospital stays can be really expensive. It is not worth the risk. If you need flexible travel insurance I recommend World Nomads . I am sure your country has good insurance deals. You have to make sure you read the policy.

A thing you should be aware of is that you can build up your immune system before you go by eating healthy food.

Here are some tips to avoid getting parasites when you are travelling:

How to avoid parasites while travelling

Wash – peel – cook

The best thing you can do to avoid parasites is to cook your own food. Remember to wash and peel the vegetables before you cook it.

Avoid meat and chicken

This is the hardest one unless you are a vegetarian. It is proven that uncooked meat especially pork can give parasites.

Always ask for well-done meat and properly washed fruit and vegetables. After experiencing parasites multiple times I have learned it is a good idea to not eat eggs or at least eat it well cooked and dry!

How to avoid parasites while travelling

Eat at the best places

If you know you have a sensitive stomach, I would avoid running to the small street BBQs around the corner or at a restaurant where no one goes to.  Look at Trip Advisor or ask locals about the best restaurants to go to.

Wash your hands

While you travel you might experience that you can’t always wash your hands. Therefore, you should always bring antibacterial wipes or a tube and use it every time you go to the toilet especially. I would also suggest to use it after you have touched something that many people have touched, like doorknobs or handles etc. Using it before you eat and cook is essential.

Need more tips on health and wellness, check out Positive Health Wellness

Only drink bottled water

When you travel to developing countries, you should only use bottled water. I have realized that I should use it whenever I need some liquid. I even use bottled water when I brush my teeth or drink juices. Be aware of that restaurants usually, use tap water in their drinks and ice cubes.

I have also experienced getting sick just after swimming in a pool while travelling. Make sure you don’t drink the pool water or from the shower.

How to avoid parasites while travelling


It is recommended to get vaccinated before you go to some developing countries. This is especially needed in African countries and some places in Asia and South America. Be aware that vaccination can give you side effects that can remind you of the stomach flu.

What to do if you already got the runs?

If it has been more than three days – you should go to the doctor. Before that, you can also ask at the pharmacy and they can give you something for dehydration or medications that don’t need a prescription. If it is really bad, where you are throwing up and everything you eat and drink you need to go to the doctor or emergency right away. It can be dangerous. For many of the worst cases the doctor will give you antibiotics, but it might be the only way to get rid of it.

You can also take a parasite to cleanse after you have travelled to a country or if think you might have a parasite but no diarrhoea yet.

Natural antibiotics that I swear by is garlic, raw garlic. Yes, it sucks and it is super spicy and your breath will stink for days. However, it is proven to be natural antibiotics.  See link Here.

I have used it many times for upset stomach and it works for me!

How to avoid parasites while travelling

How do you eat garlic?

I eat one or two feds that I cut in small pieces RAW. If it is impossible to eat it raw, you can mix it with honey, put it in tea or even have it on a toast. My stomach is insanely sensitive, so I choose to eat garlic every morning on an empty stomach at least a week before I travel. Garlic is more preventing parasites. I wouldn’t recommend eating it if you are already throwing up.

Foods to avoid when you have parasites

You should avoid carbohydrates, lemon, coffee, spicy food and dairy products.

The food you should eat when you have parasites

Garlic, oregano, bananas, carrots, beets, honey, apples, probiotics and lots of bottled water!

If you already have a parasite, I recommend this book for learning more about how to get rid of parasites

I hope this article helps you to prevent a parasite on your travels! Parasites suck!

Have you experienced parasites while travelling, what did you do? Write a comment below.


How to avoid parasites while travellingHow to avoid parasites while travelling

  • Miguel travelsauro
    Posted at 03:29h, 07 October Reply

    Hi Vibeke, yes, I know that feeling.. I got parasites in the Philippines for almost two months.. they were called Larvae migrans.. and they were literally moving under my skin.. pretty awful haha

    Another good recommendation is try to avoid walking barefoot on certain places… you can step on their eggs (rests of dog’s feces) and they get through your skin.. little fuckers! 🙂

    Thanks for the post,

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 15:24h, 07 October Reply

      Hey. Thank you for the comment. Two months sounds scary and crawling under your arms 😮 must be a horrible feeling.

      Yes that is a great advice!

      Thank you


    • Chasa Fulkerson
      Posted at 17:12h, 07 October Reply

      That sounds terrifying.

  • Chasa Fulkerson
    Posted at 17:17h, 07 October Reply

    Great tips. So far I haven’t visited any countries where this could be a potential problem. But this sounds awful. Who do you suggest to go through to get travel insurance? People always say you should get it, but they never explain the process. Do you have an article on it?

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 17:39h, 07 October Reply

      I have used World Nomads – they are quite flexible and have no limited stay and specific countries etc. I have also used different travel insurances from my Home Country, but they expire if you travel more than 40 days, I dont have an article about that yet, but it is a good idea to write about that.

      Thank you so much for the comment Chasa 🙂

      • Chasa Fulkerson
        Posted at 20:16h, 17 November Reply

        Thanks! I actually inspired myself to write a post about travel insurance as well because I have always wondered about it. World Nomads seems to be at the top of the list for most travelers!

        • thevikingabroad
          Posted at 21:33h, 17 November Reply

          Yea, it is recommended by Nomadic Matt as well. I will use it for my next travels 🙂

  • Rachel
    Posted at 11:56h, 10 October Reply

    Parasites are the worst 🙁 I’ve been fortunate not to get sick during my travels, hoping to continue down that path!

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 12:25h, 10 October Reply

      Yes, It really is horrible. You probably got a strong Immune system 😀 Lucky you!

  • Share Yvon
    Posted at 10:08h, 20 October Reply

    This is a great article, I’m going to Korea and Thailand this December and I’m kind of worried about the street food. Not sure if I should just live in the moment or pass. Thanks for the travel insurance info.

    Share Yvon

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 10:49h, 20 October Reply

      It is hard to resist the street food, if you know your stomach is strong you should go for it 🙂 Thank you for the comment.

  • Susan
    Posted at 10:21h, 02 November Reply

    I got sick when we travelled to Mexico years ago. But our most recent bout with parasites was at home! My son somehow contracted them and had them for a week before being diagnosed (we thought it was just a flu). Exactly the symptoms you mentioned. Wish I had seen a copy of that book you recommended! I’m going to share your post with my niece, who is travelling to the Philippines this winter. (Miguel’s comment above was freaky-deaky…crawling under your skin! Yikes!!)

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 20:39h, 05 November Reply

      Thank you for your comment and that you will share! It is really scary when you get it and luckily it can be prevented 🙂

  • Michael Noker
    Posted at 13:44h, 02 November Reply

    Oh my god! In a horrible way, this post made my day, but I’m so sorry this happened to you! Thanks for providing some helpful ways to stop the tragedy from striking in someone else’s life. That’s one way to turn a negative into a positive!

  • heidi
    Posted at 19:00h, 02 November Reply

    What a great post and great tips. I bet it’s a subject people don’t think about when planning a trip or traveling.

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 20:36h, 05 November Reply

      Thank you ! Exactly, it really sucks if it happens.

  • stephanie
    Posted at 08:51h, 06 December Reply

    Great article!
    Last year when I was in Cambodia I was sick (really bad and ate nothing) and waited a week before I went to the hospital/doctor.
    God it suck when youre sick while traveling, but usually it is easy to fix.

    • thevikingabroad
      Posted at 09:19h, 06 December Reply

      Thank you ! That sounds horrible. It really sucks ! Good that it was easy to fix 🙂

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  • Fit Traveler
    Posted at 19:29h, 17 March Reply

    This is such an important post for travelers! I know we all want to think our trips will go well, but a parasite will certainly put a damper on things.

  • Jean
    Posted at 22:24h, 17 March Reply

    Oh love this! Thank you for being so open and honest about how much ‘fun’ travel life can be.

  • tracy collins
    Posted at 15:31h, 18 March Reply

    Great article – we are going to South East Asia soon and parasites are something that is worrying me a lot! We will be getting good insurance thats for sure!

  • tammy
    Posted at 15:05h, 20 October Reply

    Great Post! Thanks for sharing

  • Andrés
    Posted at 22:10h, 10 June Reply

    I wish I knew this before. Thank you!

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