Food and Water
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers worldwide. This is equally true for travelers in Ecuador. Knowledge is the best weapon against illness and prevention is the best medicine. Relatively mild stomach and intestinal tract problems (diarrhea and occasionally vomiting) due to eating food or drinking liquids contaminated with bacteria or parasites, that foreign immune systems are not accustomed to, are the most common problems. However, travelers may contract other, more serious, diseases as well. Some stomach irritation can be expected while visiting developing countries, but if symptoms are extreme or last more than a few days, consult a doctor. Educate yourself and follow these precautions to stay healthy on the road.
While in Ecuador, eat only well-cooked food, or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Do not eat unpasteurized dairy products or food sold by street vendors. Eat only in restaurants that seem clean. Avoid ice in drinks. Drinking tap water is not advisable anywhere in Ecuador, so drink only bottled or boiled water or soft drinks. If you are unable to find bottled drinks or to boil water, you can make water safer by both using a water-purifier that removes both bacteria and viruses and adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. Water-purifiers can be found in most camping / outdoor supply stores. Before you buy a purifier make sure it removes both viruses and bacteria. If it does not, your water may look clean but there will be enough little critters swimming in there to make you sick. To stay healthy on your adventure follow this rule of thumb: boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it.