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Travel Related Illnesses-Travel Bloggers Tell It All!

Ever gotten sick on the road? Want to know what to do? Read more about travel bloggers stories from the road.

Overseas travellers have a 50 per cent chance of suffering from travel related illnesses, yet this is something not many talk about. From malaria to gastrointestinal infections, from different rashes to insect bites, getting sick on the road is not pleasant. Along with my own experiences, I have asked some of my travel blogger friends to discuss their experiences when it comes to getting sick and how they have handled it.

Carole from Paul Carole Love to Travel

Ever gotten sick on the road? Want to know what to do? Read more about travel bloggers stories from the road.

We stayed in the Melia Caribe Tropical Hotel in Bavaro, Dominican Republic for our honeymoon. After the first week I developed severe diarrhoea and vomiting, after some self-medication I admitting defeat and called the hotel doctor. I explained I was a nurse and had tried to control the symptoms but to no avail. He immediately prescribed intravenous fluids and rehydration drinks, and for the next 48 hours I stayed in the room (well mostly on the toilet!) and was well looked after by Paul and the nurse who replenished the intravenous fluids. The symptoms did subside but I could still not face any food for the rest of our holiday whiall inclusivech was a shame as we had paid for ! Two things that we have learnt, we were so glad that we had travel insurance and would never travel without it, and we now always take antibiotics on our trips so should this happen again we can nip it in the bud!


Tracy from Tracys Travels in Time

Ever gotten sick on the road? Want to know what to do? Read more about travel bloggers stories from the road.

Why a nine year old, a banana milkshake and the Amalfi Coast are not a good combination!
When my daughter was nine we were spending a few weeks on the beautiful Amalfi Coast in Italy. The area is stunning, but getting from place to place involves hair-raising drives in some of the scariest roads we have even been on - twisting and winding narrow roads run along the sea on high cliff sides! A classic drive. 

One day we decided to head to Salerno to catch the train to Pompeii-an hour bus ride. It was an early start and my daughter wouldn't have breakfast- instead opting for a banana milkshakeWe caught the bus-a local service and settled down for the hour journey. All went well for approximately 55 minutes of the journey, then my daughter literally turned green. No prizes for guessing the consequences of a hot day, a winding road and curdled milkshake?

At the exact second she opened her mouth I put a tissue to her face-the milkshake mixture (not smelling so much like banana now) streamed out of her mouth, bounced (I kid you not!) off the tissue and literally showered the people sat behind us on the bus. There was a moment of silence, then all hell broke loose! All I can say is thank goodness Italians love children and that we were two minutes from our destination! A quick wash in the train station toilets soon sorted my daughter. I am not so sure about the other passengers who received a shower of a rather foul smelling milkshake concoction all over themselves!


Hania from Hitchhaning

Ever gotten sick on the road? Want to know what to do? Read more about travel bloggers stories from the road.

Thai morning: Endless, white beaches surrounded by a turquoise lagoon. Soothing sound of waves trying to make it to my feet. Good book in one hand and an ice-cold mango shake in the other. Perfection.

Thai afternoon: lush forest cut into halves by the stream carrying our kayak, a rainbow of butterflies and the cool breath of caves. I’m paddling slowly while keeping my burning face outside and vomiting myself into unconsciousness.  

Thai evening: a smiling driver in his colourful tuktuk pulls over just in front of the Krabi hospital, aka my hotel for the night. A slightly less than inviting bright light of the waiting area/ reception/ hospital room of countless beds awake me as my partner is having a comforting chat with the insurance company. After handing me over to a Thai speaking nurse, he goes to the toilet. That’s where he’ll spend many of the hours to follow.

Thai night: I open my eyes and see a monkey hanging down from the ceiling. The drip needle in my arm and the cold compress on my forehead remind me where I am. The English speaking doctor has made her night through all the tourists who got caught up in the moment and forgot that ice in your drink may not be the greatest of ideas, and equips me with the necessary antibiotics and electrolytes. I look around and notice my partner on the bed beside the two fighting cats. 
Two more days of fever and fighting for a toilet and we’ll be fine. 


Anna from Slightly Astray

Ever gotten sick on the road? Want to know what to do? Read more about travel bloggers stories from the road.

The biggest incident I had while on the road was when I got bitten by a wild monkey in Thailand. I was in Lopburi, a city whose call to fame is the wild monkeys that roam the streetsWe were visiting Phra Prang Tom Yot, or better known as simply Monkey Temple. It's clear that the monkeys have made this temple their home base. I had heard that the monkeys will jump on people to search for food and steal things. So I made sure to have nothing on me.

But I didn't expect these cheeky monkeys to jump on me completely unprovoked too! The juvenile ones were extra playful and kept on jumping on me. I was flinging them off left and right, when suddenly - I felt a little stab of pain on my wrist. One had bitten me as he was being flung off. At first, I thought it was just a superficial bite, but then a little bit of blood bubbled out. It had broken skin. After being cleaned with alcohol by the staff and being told that it's nothing to worry about, I was sent on my way, but I got more and more paranoid. Finally I decided that for peace of mind, I needed to go to a clinic to get rabies shots.

After exposure, you need a series of five rabies shots over 30 days to be taken on very specific days. We had a pretty fast paced itinerary through Thailand, so it just so happened that we were in a different city for every single one of the shot days. I have to say that I am very impressed with how efficient most Thai hospitals are. I was able to find a hospital with English speaking staff everywhere. In all cases, I just walked in, said I needed a rabies shot, and was administered a shot within 15 minutes. The cost ranged from about $10-$30 each, depending on the hospital. Everywhere, I was pleased with how easy it was.

But moral of the story: do not think these monkeys are cute! Don't do anything to tempt them, especially with food. Before you know it, the fun is over and you're getting jabbed with a needle in your arm.


Deasha from Travel'n'Fitness

Ever gotten sick on the road? Want to know what to do? Read more about travel bloggers stories from the road.

Getting ill in another country is horrible, but getting spiked in a country you don’t know is terrifying. Luckily I had a saving grace on my side this time. I was in Chaing Mai and I had just completed a 3 day trekking and jungle tour with a group of people. When we got back into Chaing Mai we thought it would be nice to take the tour guide out for dinner and a few drinks as a thank you for the awesome few days. We went to a Korean BBQ food hall which was full of locals and was a really unique experience. I don’t eat much meat and stuck to the veggie stuff though. After that, we went on to a bar with some of the group. I let someone in the group buy me a drink; we had started to do rounds. I noticed that I wasn’t feeling very well and as 25 year old at the time I knew what drunk was after years at university. I went to the bar to get the next drinks, but instead I got myself a bottle of water. I stood at the bar and drank the full bottle of water. I made sure it was a fresh one and I had cracked it myself too before drinking it. I went back out to the group, gave them their drinks and then escaped to the toilet. That is the last thing that I remember, I had passed out in the bathroom. That saving grace I mentioned earlier? 

I was travelling with my Dad at the time. He noticed that I had been gone awhile and decided to come find me. One of the locals we were with also offered the same. My Dad found me in the bathroom passed out. He picked me up, carried me out through the bar and tried to give me some water.  The local was still there; helping out. We got in a tuk tuk and the local still offered to help my Dad. My Dad crossed the line at the local helping walk me into the hotel room and said he had it from there. I do not remember any of this. I was in bed for two days and couldn’t keep anything down. I was very very lucky that my Dad was there on this occasion. I thought that I had spent three days with these people and I could trust them, but I was wrong. My lesson was to always go to the bar with the person that is buying you a drink, rounds or no rounds.


Mike from Travel And Destinations

Ever gotten sick on the road? Want to know what to do? Read more about travel bloggers stories from the road.

One of the worst travel sicknesses I've ever had was in India. Before travelling I had heard of the infamous "Delhi Belly" that many travellers get when visiting India and so was trying to be fairly careful during my trip. I did however want to try local food and as a big fan of curry I didn't want to be too restrictive. Halfway through the trip I managed to get ill, with a very upset stomach, sometimes requiring me to almost sprint for the toilet. I'm not sure exactly what I ate, although have suspicions of Lassi which is a milky drink I often had.

This also happened around the Holi celebrations, and on the main day of the celebration I was pretty much bed bound, as on top of the upset stomach I felt sick and generally weak and unwell. One of the guys we met on the trip said maybe it was also the heat, or even a slight poisoning from the air pollution. This would make sense as at one point I was on a tuk tuk and felt I was pretty much inhaling exhaust fumes. 

Anyway I didn't feel 100% again for at least a week or so later and it did put me off the food a little and from being experiential. I would definitely go back to India though, and on a future trip would avoid certain things such as lassi. I would also get an air pollution mask for when travelling on tuk tuks and carry with me electrolytes to help against the heat. 


David from Travelsewhere

Ever gotten sick on the road? Want to know what to do? Read more about travel bloggers stories from the road.

It’s unclear when I first really experienced altitude sickness. In the days leading up to my visit to Bogota, I’d been battling a stomach bug, so that could explain why I felt so rotten there. The capital of Colombia, Bogota sits at 2,644 metres above sea level and I’d flown in from sea level. Along with my upset stomach I was having persistent headaches. That I started feeling better by my last day there means I may have acclimatised by then.

But the time when I truly knew I was suffering altitude sickness was on the road from Arequipa to Colca Canyon in Peru, a week later. The road between the two takes you over a mountain pass of 4,900m before descending again. It was that descent where it felt like someone was splitting my skull apart. It was the kind of headache where focusing on anything else was near impossible. The 2000+ metre change from Arequipa to the pass was what really got me. Altitude sickness is not just about how high you are, but how rapid your change in altitude is.

The best way to minimise the effects of altitude sickness are to gradually increase in altitude, allowing your body to adjust to the thinner atmosphere. Often taking a bus is better for you than flying as the increase is more gradual. Before my trip I’d seen my GP about things including the altitude and getting something for altitude sickness, but he had said that the products aren’t always effective and not to bother. Who knows if they would have helped, but really it was only a few days and I was fine with the altitude, spending several weeks above 3000m with no drama.


Jason from Blue Corner Dive Nusa Penida

Ever gotten sick on the road? Want to know what to do? Read more about travel bloggers stories from the road.

As an expat Dive Centre owner living in SE Asia and therefore ‘The Tropics’, there are two things that I see fairly regularly-the first being an infected mozzie bite. Speaking purely from a SE Asian point of view Dengue and Malaria are well controlled and I haven’t taken any meds for years, but there’s always a risk. I’m no doctor, but from my educated guesswork its 90% of the time infected because people scratch it and bacteria gets in the wound; the other 10% of the time remains a mystery to me. Tips for prevention and fighting go a long way.  Don’t scratch it! :) Grab some tiger balm or local equivalent.  Tiger balm although not antibacterial, will ease any itchiness. Antibiotics, most commonly being Amoxicillin are available all over SE Asia (also Central America) over the counter and are uber cheap.  When you land in whatever country, rock up to a pharmacy and buy some to stick in your bag.

Part two of what I have seen fairly often is random skin infection.  Symptoms are mostly an irritating rash looking like lots of small bubbles (not to be confused with severe sun burn!).  Being a water dweller I have seen this mostly from people who have spent a lot of time in the water snorkelling or diving like me.  Depending on how susceptible your body is you may or may not get anything, however, the reasons one gets this tends to be water quality.  If there are high nutrients in the sea, there again can be a lot of bacteria and your moist warm body becomes a breeding ground.  Generally the rash manifests in the most uncomfortable and embarrassing places like armpits, bum and crotch area. Essentially the best way to counteract this is to rinse off with fresh water whenever you get out of the ocean and dry off, also to travel/holiday with antibacterial soap.  Should you be unfortunate to get this ailment, don’t go in the ocean until you heal.  Wash with the antibacterial soap and stay dry.  Antiseptic/antibacterial cream will help with the itchiness and you sometimes even the friendly oral Amoxicillin can help in the more extreme cases. NB! Clearly if you are allergic to penicillin and its derivatives, don’t take drugs until you’ve seen a doctor!

E-mail: penida@bluecornerdive.com

Kreete from Adventuroustrails

Ever gotten sick on the road? Want to know what to do? Read more about travel bloggers stories from the road.

As for myself, I got a really bad rash in Bali, just like the one Jason described. It ruined half of my two week holiday in Bali as I had to cancel some of the things I went to Bali for. My hike to the top of Mt.Agung for example had to be cancelled due to the rash being in a really bad spot on my bum while it was burning and painful to walk. Wanting to heal by the time of my big hike to Everest Base Camp, I ended up skipping it altogether. Not to mention all the pool and beach time that was cut short. This, however, was nothing compared to the food poisoning I managed to score every other day from the poor hygiene of local food in Asia. I was dreaming of healthy salads, fruits and meat without flies on it the whole two months I was away. Even by following the common rules of no ice in the drinks, no salads and fruits without thick skin I could peel myself, I still found myself in cramps and pain every other day. Antibiotics bought from Nepal along with probiotics to help with gastrointestinal infections were life savers.


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Ever gotten sick on the road? Want to know what to do? Read more about travel bloggers stories from the road.

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