While food safety and hygiene standards are generally high in Thailand it is possible to catch food poisoning, especially from street vendors and restaurants that have a slow turn over. In fact, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was hospitalised in Bangkok with a case of food poisoning back in 2011. The Prime Minster was admitted to Rama IX Hospital with acute diarrhea and vomiting due to food poisoning. Although the pathogen that caused the food poisoning was not disclosed, it was reported that the Prime Minister’s case of food poisoning was so severe that she had to remain in hospital for at least one night.
United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization meet regularly in Thailand to address health issues such as food poisoning. According to Hiroyuki Konuma, who is the assistant director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Thai government has been working hard to ensure food safety throughout Thailand.
However, thousands of cases of food poisoning are reported in Thailand each year. One of the more high profile cases concerns New Zealander Sarah Katherine Carter, who died from food poisoning while on holiday in Chiang Mai back in 2011. While this case caused a lot of controversy at the time, it has to be said that this type of case is extremely rare in Thailand. Food safety is becoming a high priority in Thailand, and even street stalls in tourist areas throughout the country are subjected to regular checks.
Reduce Your Chances of Catching Food Poisoning
There are certain measures that you can take while visiting Thailand to reduce the risk of catching food poisoning. First of all, try to choose a restaurant or café where several local people are eating. Not only will the turn-over of food be much higher, local people are likely to know the best places in town to eat at.
Food that has been cooked in advance and left to cool slightly in metal trays or plastic containers has a much higher risk of containing potentially life threatening bacterial than food that has just been cooked. Often this food is cooked in large batches several hours in advance. When ordering food from a street stall or other type of eatery it is best to make sure that the food is cooked fresh in front of you and served hot.
Avoid raw seafood in markets and on the street, especially if you are a long way from the sea or the nearest river. Give cutlery and plates a quick whip with a paper napkin before using them, especially if they have been sitting out for a while.
What to Do if You Catch Food Poisoning
Some cases of food poisoning can be very mild, and although the symptoms can be unpleasant you do not necessarily have to rush straight to the doctor. While you are waiting for the symptoms to subside there are several things you can do to make things easier for yourself such as drinking plenty of water so that you do not become dehydrated.
Carbon tablets are an ideal natural remedy for mild cases of food poisoning as they simply soak up the bacteria in your stomach and have no side effects. Try taking a carbon tablet every three or four hours with plenty of water and if the symptoms persist for more than a day it is probably time to seek medical advice.
By Kirsty Turner