Is street food of India healthy

Backpacking India: How to Stay Healthy in India

Anne from the blog

India is a world of contrasts and one of the most fascinating countries of all. But the hygienic standards are far below those in Germany. Therefore, staying healthy while traveling to India can become a real challenge. Traveller's diarrhea is so widespread among visitors that it has been given a name of its own: Delhi Belly.

The risk of developing it is particularly high in the first seven days, which is why caution is advised at the beginning of a trip. Find out here our best tips to minimize the Delhi Belly and other health risks in India.

Don't drink tap water

Not drinking tap water in exotic countries is a well-known rule that should also be followed in India. Specifically, this means: Do not use the tap water to brush your teeth, do not accidentally sip the shower water and avoid ice cubes in drinks.

Drinks in their original packaging, sealed plastic bottles and cans are usually safe. You can also drink tea and coffee without hesitation, as the water was usually boiled beforehand.

Boil, peel or leave

Fruit and vegetables are often washed with contaminated tap water and can thus indirectly transmit pathogens. If, on the other hand, the food was (fresh) cooked or fruit and vegetables were peeled, nothing stands in the way of enjoyable consumption.

Exceptions here can be restaurants or hotels with a very high standard that are geared to Western needs and habits. Filtered water is usually used there. Such accommodations are most likely to be found in tourist areas and large cities.

Eat where the Indians eat

In order to know where you can safely eat in India, we have a very simple tip: don't look at the menu, not the decoration and not the price. Just keep an eye out for places where the locals eat. If a restaurant is full of Indians, that is the best quality factor ever and a sure sign of excellent and wholesome Indian food.

The health risk is greatest with classic street food. Here's our advice: you better keep your hands off it. Because the food is often in the sun for days. But caution is also advised when ordering western food. Since this is not sold that often, there is a risk that the ingredients have been in stock for a long time.

Pay attention to a good mosquito repellent

Mosquito bites are not only very unpleasant, they can also be the cause of dangerous diseases. In India there is a high risk of malaria infection all year round and nationwide. Exceptions are altitudes of over 2,000 meters, which are considered malaria-free. The risk of transmission is particularly high during and shortly after the rainy season between May and October.

Half of all malaria cases recorded in India are dangerous Malaria tropicawhich, if diagnosed in good time, can usually be treated reliably and without any consequential damage. Therefore, the first signs (fever, chills, body aches, etc.) must be taken seriously. If symptoms of illness occur, we recommend urgently consulting a doctor.

Other diseases that can be transmitted via mosquito bites in India are dengue fever, chikungunya fever, and Japanese encephalitis.

Since there is no vaccination against malaria or dengue fever, good protection against mosquito bites (exposure prophylaxis) is the best prevention:

  • Wear long, light-colored clothing.
  • Use a reliable mosquito repellent spray.
  • Sleep under a mosquito net or in a room protected from mosquitoes at night.

Wash your hands regularly

One look at a dirty one hundred rupee bill is an alarm signal as to why hand washing is particularly important in India - and probably motivation enough to disinfect your hands regularly. The problem is that hands and fingers come into contact with germs everywhere and always and these are transferred to everything that is touched. This can either be a noticeably dirty banknote, the handle of a door or the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eyes. Regular hand washing is therefore number one infection prevention!

To kill all germs, you should wash your hands thoroughly under running water and with soap for about 20 to 30 seconds. If there is no soap, we also recommend using a hand disinfectant spray. And if there is neither one nor the other on the way, then you should at least try not to touch your face and especially not to eat food with your hand.

Attention: left-hand traffic!

At first glance, it is not always clear on which side the cars, cyclists, bullock carts, rickshaw drivers and mopeds are driving. Because there is pure chaos on the streets of India. The one who honks the loudest has right of way, and the horns, it seems, are particularly loud in India.

Sidewalks or even zebra crossings and pedestrian traffic lights are rare and crossing a street can be a real challenge. Officially, there is left-hand traffic in India, but we recommend looking in all directions!

Enjoy your trip to "Incredible India"

And last but not least, all that remains to be said is that India is worth a visit despite the increased health risk. Be careful, listen to your common sense, but don't be afraid. India is definitely one of the most exciting countries in the world. Immerse yourself in the world of contrasts and experience India in all its diversity. It is worth it!