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Staying Healthy on the Road Medical info, e.g. malaria, vaccinations, travel medical tips, medical insurance, where to find a doctor.
Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

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Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India



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  • 2 Post By Jay_Benson
  • 5 Post By Tomkat
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  • 1 Post By Turbofurball
  • 3 Post By markharf
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  #1  
Old 3 Jun 2024
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Avoiding stomach issues on the road

The BBC radio 4 programme "Inside Science" was asked, on the 30 May 2024 programme whether there was any way to prepare your stomach prior to going on travels abroad and eating weird and wonderful food with the aim of avoiding sickness and diarrhea. The programme is question is on BBC Sounds (the BBC's own podcast system) and the link is here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m001znlt

The question is asked abouit 18 minutes in. The first part of the programme is about sleep.
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Old 3 Jun 2024
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I'll have to come back and listen to this when I have a moment, thanks for posting it!
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Old 4 Jun 2024
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Ultimately there are a lot of bugs out there that will play havoc with your bum, and you'll never acclimatise yourself to all of them. I have a pretty robust digestive system but a few weeks ago a place in southern Turkey gave me the trots. No idea if it was the food or the water. Had to take a couple of days in a better hotel before I felt able to fart with confidence.

The travel clinic previously gave me a packet containing loperamide and antibiotics, used them both and felt fit enough to ride within 24 hours.

Note: the tap water in Turkey is supposedly safe to drink. In Bulgaria and Romania they recommend not to, but I've been drinking those with no problems. But there are parts of the world where you definitely don't want to play russian roulette with it.
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Old 4 Jun 2024
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I find there is nothing you can do but just travel more. Eat more street food, bite your nails andwash your teeth with the tap water etc. Get down and dirty.

There is no such thing as a free immune system. You need plenty of experience of having miserable tummy bugs and travel sickness to get strong.

You can't live in a sterile environment when travelling. You have to face it all eventually.

In my early travel days, I used to get sick at least once a trip. And badly. Now I can pretty much eat anything from anywhere. And never get ill.

Having a very strong gut microbiome is important too. Eat plenty of fruit and veg. Lots of fermented foods. That is key to a good digestive immune system.

And of course. Always pack some immodium and a few courses of ciprofloxicin incase you do get a really bad one that you can't shake off.
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Originally Posted by Tomkat View Post
Had to take a couple of days in a better hotel before I felt able to fart with confidence.

But there are parts of the world where you definitely don't want to play russian roulette with it.
An interesting choice of words, quite appropriate.
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Old 6 Jun 2024
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Indeed, I used to have a strong stomach.

Then I got a h.pylori infection from drinking well water, it was bad enough that I was vomiting blood and couldn't stand up from the pain.

Now i have a weak stomach.

Some people have h.pylori in their system for years without any problems, I just got unlucky.
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Old 6 Jun 2024
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Exactly. The approach of eating and drinking freely in order to toughen up the GI tract can work in some cases, but it can also backfire, leading to increased sensitivity. That goes for pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and parasites as well as allergens and chemical toxins.

While it's true that some exposure is inescapable while traveling--and at times may benefit--I think it's also important to take precautions. You probably wouldn't invite mosquito-borne parasites into your life (malaria, dengue, West Nile), set your camp up in thick poison ivy, or snack on spoiled seafood--the potential consequences are severe and the possible benefits sparse. Personally, I eat lots of street foods but stay away from the stalls selling yesterday's production out of clouds of flies.

"There's nothing you can do" sounds grossly oversimplified. There's plenty that each of us does, and much of it is effective. "There is nothing you can do to stay absolutely safe" would be closer to the truth.
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Old 8 Jun 2024
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Originally Posted by markharf View Post
……. Personally, I eat lots of street foods but stay away from the stalls selling yesterday's production out of clouds of flies and McDonalds.
Fixed that for you.

Seriously, I totally agree, there is no such thing as totally safe in any aspect of life.
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  #9  
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food while riding

To avoid "tourista" in Central America and Mexico, my choices were:
a) if buying from stalls at markets/roadsides, only buy if i see the foods actually being cooked on site
b) go to a decent looking supermarket, buy meats from their in-house deli, add fruits and vegs (and s)
c) decent looking restaurants (once in a while)

hope this helps
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbrix View Post
To avoid "tourista" in Central America and Mexico, my choices were:
a) if buying from stalls at markets/roadsides, only buy if i see the foods actually being cooked on site
b) go to a decent looking supermarket, buy meats from their in-house deli, add fruits and vegs (and s)
c) decent looking restaurants (once in a while)

hope this helps
God knows I've eaten some 'crap' over the years while travelling but the two worst bouts of food poisoning I've ever experienced came from half decent restaurants. Not sure there's any real rules to this as it always seems to strike when my guard is down. Pack lots of Immodium is the only advice I can offer.
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