How to Avoid Getting Sick When Travelling in Kerala, India

When travellers think of visiting any state in India, one of the first concerns that pop up into their minds is the chance of getting sick due to unhygienic conditions and food. Let me tell you, even as a Kerala local, I have been worried for my and my family’s health during the peak monsoon season. The humidity combined with pollution in the state has led to disastrous health conditions at times. But this shouldn’t deter you from exploring all the wealth of beauty in Kerala.

If you’re anxious about your travel, allow me to quell down all worries by offering these quick and easy tips to follow to avoid getting sick when travelling in Kerala, India.

Best tips to avoid travel sickness in India

1. The Basics – Eating with the hand

Eating with hands

All over Kerala, people eat with their hands. This is for 2 reasons, one being that it enhances the experience and taste of eating, and the second being you can be sure that you’re not eating with a spoon that’s not sufficiently clean. Washing your hand in good warm water with soap for 20 seconds will eliminate 99% of the bacteria that could make you sick.

A trick I use when trying out street food is looking out for places that serve food on paper plates and plastic spoons. Though not environment-friendly, easy disposability is a factor in maintaining cleanliness. One thing that you will often find on the streets of Kerala is Jack fruit, while I recommend you to try them, I would also like you to remember this tip!

2. Stocking up on the life-saving hand sanitizer and toilet paper

toilet paper sick in india

I’ve felt that hand sanitizers are saviours of the generation, for they are so handy and versatile. At times, I’ve even used them on my feet after walking barefoot in certain crowded religious establishments where you have to compulsorily remove your shoes. You can get them at any pharmacy at a low cost.

Toilet paper is not commonly used anywhere in India. But very recently, I’ve been seeing certain big pharmacies offering it for sale. And if you stay in a big city, certain super malls such as the LuLu Mall in Kochi do stock them, but usually in very limited supply. So it’s better to bring this item from home.

3. Avoid cut fruits, juices and ice

cut food india

Many people have been affected by diseases transferred through flies sitting on cut fruits. Anyone with common sense will also know that unless the fruit is marinated with sugar syrup and well-refrigerated, they will not stay fresh beyond 24 hours. The same rule applies to street foods in India. By all means, avoid fresh juices and ice cubes. There is a 50% chance that the water used is not of good quality.

Another quick tip to avoid getting sick while travelling in India is to always buy bottled water of recognized brands. You should be able to hear the “crack” of the bottle top when opening it. Otherwise, the bottle has been reused and refilled. Avoid ice in your water or drinks if you are not sure of the source of the ice.

4. The Monsoon Mania

monsoon sick in india

Everyone loves a good rain shower, but not when it becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. When going out in the rain, carry a good mosquito repellent with you. Jump around water puddles and always carry an extra pair of socks and open-feet slippers in case yours get wet.

During this season, avoid milk-based foods that have been sitting out without refrigeration or cover.

5. Masala powders are a strict no-no!

spices powder masala

A few masalas that I’ve felt are extremely spicy and that can upset the stomach are Chettinad, Kolhapuri and Hyderbadi masalas. Cut down on dishes that mention these ingredients and always have raita or yoghurt as a side dish.

When in doubt, ask your waiter to tone down the spice by keeping chillies to the minimum.

What to do if you get sick while travelling in Kerala, India

  • Go on a 24-hour diet with only yoghurt, freshly cooked rice and water.
  • Drink coconut water. Its electrolytes boost energy ten-fold!
  • If you are used to spices, try ginger tea without milk. Alternatively, you can have black tea with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. This eases diarrhoea instantly.
  • Be well-hydrated with clean, bottled water. If you are at a homestay, you can ask the cook to give you water boiled with a teaspoon of cumin seeds. This is soothing gas troubles.
  • Have burnt toast and bananas – easy fix for the uneasy stomach!
  • Ask at the nearest pharmacy for charcoal-activated tablets. Specify if you have any allergies before buying medication.


With all this considered, Kerala is still a beautiful place to see and has much to offer in experiences. Do you have more tips or questions?

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