Thursday, June 30, 2011

Safe not Sorry - Traveler´s Diarrhea!

“Hors de Combat” meaning "outside the fight," is used to refer to soldiers who are incapable of performing their duty.

When the above definition is applied to international travel notorious for provoking Gastrointestinal (GI) Distress “Hors de Combat” takes on a whole new meaning. Widespread tummy rattling experienced on-the-road has triggered a long list of euphemisms like “Delhi Belly”, “Montezuma’s Revenge”, “Cairo Two-Step” and presently being I’m in Cuzco, Peru with a travel companion who is “Hors de Combat” one could add “Andean Agony” to the list.

If you don’t know much about “Holiday Tummy,” remember symptoms are, oh, too recognizable. Indicators may include diarrhea, dehydration, nausea and perhaps even vomiting. Most people who experience symptoms do so shortly after being exposed to contaminated water or foods.

Fortunately treatment is straight forward, as well. First rule is let your system rest. Eat little until you feel better again. Dehydration is the single greatest threat, so rehydrate! Frequently take small sips of bottled or boiled water. If possible drink oral re-hydration salts, also, electrolyte loaded sport drinks will help balance your body. Once you begin to normalize, sip something light like clear broth to restart your system.

Resume eating solids by taking bland foods, such as salty crackers, plain rice or bananas, which commonly help to slow episodes (no oils, no dairy and absolutely nothing fried). After the diarrhea has subsided, you may continue eating your normal diet.

If you attend to the advice above, an attack will be more inconvenience than hospital stay. In order to avoid it all together know that bottled water and eating hot, steaming foods are the first line of defense. Additionally, remember raw veggies are not your friends (peel all fruit). Some hard-core trekkers suggest that travelers who eat the local yogurt and drink sparkling water suffer fewer incidents. Others swear by pink bismuth tablets taken prophylactically and the curative powers of flat, room temperature Coca-Cola. No confirmation there. However, with these safeguards in mind, book a ticket to anywhere. Enjoy your planet. Bon Voyage! Happy Trails! And we’ll see you over a glass of sparkling water some place exotic being anything other than “Hors de Combat!”

Mick Huerta is not a medical doctor but decades of international travel have sharpened his knowledge of this complaint. For more information see your physician or local health department and ask about Gastrointestinal (GI) Distress.

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2011. All Rights Reserved.
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1 comment:

binky Sanchez said...

Well written, looking to enjoy our travels and punt on the Andean agony.