Unfortunately, traveler’s diarrhea affects up to half of all travelers to developing countries. There are ways to try and protect yourself though.
- Avoid salads, raw vegetables, fruits that cannot be peeled, and cold foods that may have been washed in contaminated water
- Avoid buffets or foods that have been sitting out for a long time
- Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or seafood
- Avoid milk and dairy products, which may be unpasteurized
- Avoid food from street vendors
- Carry hand sanitizer at all times and use frequently, w ash hands with soap prior to eating
- Boiling water for 3 minutes is the safest way to disinfect it
- Drink only bottled water or juices, make sure bottles are unopened and have an intact seal
- Do not use ice made from tap water
- Used bottled water to brush your teeth
- Consider disinfecting water with iodine tablets (unless pregnant or have a thyroid condition) or using a portable water filter
How is traveler’s diarrhea treated?
- Rehydration is the most important part of treatment
- Drink fluids (bottled or boiled only)
- Oral rehydration solution is readily available around the world
- Loperamide can be used for symptomatic relief (it should not be used if you have fever or bloody stools)
- Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed by travel physicians to help shorten duration of illness
Sun exposure can damage your skin leading to skin cancer. It is important to protect yourself while traveling.
- Wear protective clothing, hats and sunglasses
- Limit sun exposure, especially during peak hours of 10AM – 2PM
- Apply sunscreen prior to mosquito repellents
- Use sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher. Reapply frequently, especially after swimming or sweating
- If sunburn does occur, use cool compresses, soothing lotions/aloe
Water activities (swimming, boating) can be an entertaining part of any vacation, but there are also risks involved. In developing countries , lakes, rivers, and beaches can be breeding grounds for water borne illnesses.
- Avoid swimming in standing water
- Avoid swallowing water or submerging your head
- Wear protective sandals
- Use hand sanitizer after swimming
- Do not dive headfirst into unknown waters
- Always wear proper fitting life jackets when participating in any water sports
What is malaria?
Malaria is a disease that is caused by a parasite. It infects about 250 million people each year causing about 1 million deaths. It is endemic in certain parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, Mexico, and South America.
How is malaria transmitted?
Malaria is transmitted via infected mosquitoes. It cannot be caught directly from an infected person, only through a mosquito bite. It can take days to weeks after a bite for a to develop symptoms.
What are the symptoms of malaria?
Symptoms include fever, chills, joint pains, and fatigue. In severe cases it can result in coma and death.
How is malaria diagnosed?
Malaria is suspected when an individual exhibits the typical symptoms and has history of recent travel to a malaria endemic area. It is diagnosed by looking for the parasite in a sample of the patient’s blood.
How can malaria be prevented?
There are a few recommended ways to prevent infection with malaria. Depending on your travel destination, your physician may recommend that you take malaria prophylaxis during your trip. Knowing where you are traveling is imperative in determining which medication is right for you as resistant malaria is common in certain areas. If you are prescribed medications it is important to take for the fully recommended course. Besides medications, travelers should take measures to avoid mosquito bites. These include insect repellents containing DEET, mosquito nets if sleeping in areas that are open to the outside, and proper clothing.