A MEDICAL expert has revealed the simple and cheap household product holidaymakers should take abroad with them to avoid getting ill.
Trying the local food is one of the best parts of going away on holiday – but the threat of getting a bad stomach afterwards always looms large.
However, for those who want to get stuck into some amazing foreign cuisine, but are worried about their guts, there could be a simple solution already sitting in their cupboards at home.
Michael Bolaris, chair of pediatrics and chief of infectious disease at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, California explained why Pepto Bismol could be the answer.
He told National Geographic: “Generally, E. coli is the most common cause for traveller’s diarrhea, and the medication may help prevent the bacteria from taking hold and [you] developing any symptoms."
The recommended daily dose, according to American medical institution Mount Sinai, is two Pepto-Bismol tablets, four times a day, which can reduce the effects of food poisoning by up to 60 per cent.
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This was revealed by a study for which students travelling to Mexico took the antacid medication to see if it could help relieve or even prevent symptoms.
However, anyone taking the tablets may encounter some strange side effects, including a black tongue, or a harmless black stool.
Dr Uchenna Okoye, a cosmetic dentist at londonsmiling.com said: “Black tongue is also very common in people who are taking Bismuth Subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) which is a common medication people take for indigestion, heartburn, diarrhoea and nausea.
“Black tongue goes away once you stop taking the medication.”
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It's not just the food abroad that can cause people to feel unwell when on holiday.
Michelle Couch-Friedman, a columnist for The Points Guy, told Nat Geo about some other things tourists should avoid putting in their mouths to swerve harmful bacteria, including the water on the plane.
She said: "You may actually be introducing yucky microbes by washing your hands prior to a meal or brushing your teeth.
“Bring a bottle of spring water into the bathroom to brush your teeth, and use hand sanitizer. Otherwise, you could fast-track yourself to gastrointestinal problems.”
Other advice is to drink bottled water and avoid ice in bars and restaurants after arriving at your destination.
If in doubt, try and boil water in a kettle, or treat it with purification tablets to make sure any potentially nasty germs are removed before consumption.
The National Sanitation Foundation have also warned people about drinking the water from their hotel taps.
They said: "No matter how desperate you are for a cool drink of water in the middle of the night, do not resort to drinking from the bathroom tap.
"Hotel plumbing is a potential breeding ground for harmful microorganisms such E.Coli, as water in unoccupied hotel rooms can remain stagnant in pipes for days, weeks or even months."
As well as water, ginger ale is also known to help ease stomach problems and other ailments.
It is often drunk by those feeling travel sick, as ginger is known to reduce nausea, while the fizziness can also help.
Nutritionist Lauren Grosskopf told Travel + Leisure: "Ginger helps ease stomach upset with nervous flyers."
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Meanwhile, these are the worst destinations for getting sick abroad.
And these are the food mistakes people make on holiday all the time.
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