Good hygiene can significantly reduce the risk of contracting bacteria. Therefore, keep the following in mind:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap. After every toilet visit of course, but also if you have been to busy places where many people have used banisters, etc. Wash your hands thoroughly before every meal or before preparing your own food.
- Dry your hands well. Preferably with disposable paper towels or under a hand dryer and not with a towel hanging in public areas. The chance that it has been hanging there for at least a week is high!
- Take a small microfibre towel with you. Then you always have your personal towel with you everywhere. They are quick-drying and very lightweight.
- Always bring a toilet roll or tissues with you. There is no paper in many public toilets. It’s not great if you only find this out after you’ve done your business. You can also use it to dry your hands if there is no hand-drying option at the sink.
- Public toilets in Asia are sometimes too dirty for words. If you have the chance, go to a toilet at a Starbucks or another Western chain. The chance you will find a cleaner toilet here is a bit higher.
- Make sure you always have a disinfecting antibacterial bottle on you. This way, you can always clean your hands when necessary and there is no good or unhygienic washing possibility. One drop is enough to disinfect your hands properly. There are also disadvantages to long-term use of this hand gel as it kills the “good” bacteria as well and contains a certain component that is not great for you if used frequently and for a long time. So be sparing with it!
- Always brush your teeth with mineral water. Afterwards, rinse your mouth with mineral water as well. If you use tap water, bacteria can easily get into your mouth.
- Do not take a sip of water when you are in the shower. While swimming, it is also wise to avoid letting water inside.
- Always wear flip-flops in the shower.
- Wear water shoes in the sea, to prevent wounds from sea urchins and coral, for example.
- Do not swim in stagnant fresh water, or check if it is safe (often you can get nasty bacteria in this kind of water).
- If you go on a primitive trekking trip for a few days without showering facilities, you can refresh yourself with so-called “body gloves”. Without soap and water you can still “wash” yourself with them, as they are wet. The wipes are for single use only. Make sure that the wipes are disposed of responsibly and do not leave them in the jungle. The guide has a chance to collect waste during the trek so the environment is not harmed.