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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 Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Igor Djokovic,
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  #1  
Old 16 Nov 2022
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How do you get your stomach ready for a trip?

First off, apologies if I did not find the thread for this topic

I understand that the best way, it is to eat local food -especially, raw uncooked- progressively, so that your stomach gets used to it, while using common sense with limitations (local people, used to germs and bacteriae also get sick and food poisoned).

Do you have any tricks to ease the process or adapt somehow beforehand? Curiosity to know if anyone stopping washing hands, eating old food/leftovers…

Esteban
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Old 16 Nov 2022
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Ajo!!
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Old 16 Nov 2022
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I do nothing whatsoever to prepare my GI tract, and I’m generally less ill than other travelers. The thought that I’d stop handwashing(!) or start eating spoiled food before a trip strikes me as more than a bit odd.

I’ve never been obsessive about cleanliness at home—I don’t run around spraying everything with bleach or sanitizing chopping blocks and cookware—and this, too, has worked for me.

On the other hand, my hygiene while traveling has benefited from learning the hard way what’s really important and what’s merely performative. I’ve had giardia, dysentery, malaria, inactive TB, and various topical and systemic infections, and I try my best to evade those particular microbes and parasites. I definitely do NOT try to invite them into my life in hopes of building some sort of immunity.

That’s what works for me, but you know the standard disclaimer.

Mark
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Old 16 Nov 2022
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Originally Posted by markharf View Post
I do nothing whatsoever to prepare my GI tract, and I’m generally less ill than other travelers.
Similarly - we take care of food hygiene whether travelling or not - no difference prior to travelling. Seems to work. If it seems like a bad idea to eat or drink something, don't. Eat where others are eating - street food sellers don't survive if they sell food which results in indigestion or worse. The traditional view that eating where truck drivers eat is good advice - truck drivers cannot afford to be sick, especially in countries where the minimum wage is zero...


The single occasion on which I recall being sick in the last decade was when I drank açai juice sold in a plastic bag on a stick from a canoe at an Amazon port in Brazil: I should have known better.
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Old 16 Nov 2022
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Originally Posted by markharf View Post
I do nothing whatsoever to prepare my GI tract, and I’m generally less ill than other travelers. The thought that I’d stop handwashing(!) or start eating spoiled food before a trip strikes me as more than a bit odd.

I’ve never been obsessive about cleanliness at home—I don’t run around spraying everything with bleach or sanitizing chopping blocks and cookware—and this, too, has worked for me.

On the other hand, my hygiene while traveling has benefited from learning the hard way what’s really important and what’s merely performative. I’ve had giardia, dysentery, malaria, inactive TB, and various topical and systemic infections, and I try my best to evade those particular microbes and parasites. I definitely do NOT try to invite them into my life in hopes of building some sort of immunity.

That’s what works for me, but you know the standard disclaimer.

Mark

I have never done anything either but being more cautious at the 1st stages of a any trip. I just wondered if people had some tricks, just to share thoughts/open debate.



I usually did not get sick -but I am no hardcore traveller, and no infections/diseases as you mention-, except some years ago in India that I spent a few days with high fever vomiting and going to the toilet a lot. I eat almost anywhere, but I reckon India standard is too much for me and definitely avoid sellers in buses/street stalls. I do not intend to develop any special inmunity either!



I travelled a bit by car through Northern Morocco with my 9 y/o daughter some months ago and I was especially cautious regarding food to avoid her getting sick. We met plenty of people sick who ate like they would do in Europe, so she learned that fresh salads washed with tap water were a no-go during the trip.


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Originally Posted by Alanymarce View Post
Similarly - we take care of food hygiene whether travelling or not - no difference prior to travelling. Seems to work. If it seems like a bad idea to eat or drink something, don't. Eat where others are eating - street food sellers don't survive if they sell food which results in indigestion or worse. The traditional view that eating where truck drivers eat is good advice - truck drivers cannot afford to be sick, especially in countries where the minimum wage is zero...

The single occasion on which I recall being sick in the last decade was when I drank açai juice sold in a plastic bag on a stick from a canoe at an Amazon port in Brazil: I should have known better.

I like the idea of truck drivers. In Spain we consider they go to places with good meals.


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Ajo!!

"Garlic", what does it make it special?
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Old 17 Nov 2022
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My biggest concern is reducing its size to get into the riding gear more easily.
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Old 17 Nov 2022
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Talking

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"Garlic", what does it make it special?
Its chemical composition and effects on human anatomy
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Old 18 Nov 2022
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I do nothing to prepare in advance. It is all about food hygene. The faster I travel the more rigerous I am. If I can/will stay put in one pkace for a few days, I take grwatwr risk.

Fried is better than boiled, boiled is better than raw and washed. Be vary about large kitchens that offer a broad selection. Eat seafood only near the sea.

Hand hygene!

I swear by psyllum husks for perfect bowel movements (one wipe only).
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Old 18 Nov 2022
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Good luck if you think you can 'prepare' your stomach by pre eating sub standard food or dirt or whatever. You're more likely to go down with something severe enough to postpone the trip than end up with a cast iron constitution.

Other than that I don't think there's much you can do other than taking hygiene seriously and hoping it's your lucky day. Because sooner or later, and if not this trip then the next, something will get you when you least expect it. Mostly, my odds say anyway, it'll be mild and you'll either live with it or get over it quickly, but occasionally it'll be severe enough to cause you issues (delays or a need for medical care) - as I found this summer.

Take a (good) supply of the diy remedies (imodium in my case) that you're most likely to need, hope that over zealous customs officials believe the contents of your first aid kit are all for your 'medical condition' and check your medical insurance covers you for more professional help if that's not enough / it's all confiscated. Buying stuff over the counter in a pharmacy in a foreign land isn't easy when drug names for the same active ingredient vary and you don't know what to ask for.
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Old 18 Nov 2022
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I clearly remember talking to a local in Guatemala who had gone to the USA for several years for school. When he arrived there he had stomach issues, but eventually it cleared up. On his return home to Guatemala years later, he ate his mothers food and had serious tourista! After much trying to get used to it he gave up and only drank bottled water and was generally careful, just like a tourist would.
His theory was that your stomach can eventually get used to the local flora and fauna, but it just took too long for him.

So I think "we" should just be very careful as noted by several above posts - we're NOT going to get used to the local bacteria as we travel through relatively quickly.
I'm personally very sensitive "Grant's sick again" is a common phrase, it's just part of the game for me. Fortunately for me Susan has a better stomach, but she has been REALLY ill a few times.

One TIP: When you get really sick, head for a GOOD hotel - time to splurge on someplace nice, with room service, good bathroom, and they'll check on on you and call a doctor if needed. And your bike etc is safe. I've been in dumps sick, and good hotels sick - it's a no-brainer which is better when you're heading for the toilet and you're undecided which end to put on it.
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Old 18 Nov 2022
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What I do.

I take all the vaccines. Including Dukoral for Cholera.
I carry and use hand sanitiser.
Bottled water only.
Avoid all cold foods.
If possible, I buy packaged food from markets.

I still got brutally sick in Turkey lol.
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Old 19 Nov 2022
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Having done 22 years in Her Majesty’s Army and eating the then Army Catering Corps food both in camp and on operations I would like to think it’s prepared me for the worst (sarcasm)
I also live in the North East of Thailand and having the odd, grub, rat stew, frog curry or ant salad has not done me any harm lol. Maybe I do have an iron constitution So I should be prepared
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Old 21 Nov 2022
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Planning to ride from northeastern US to Ushuaia. How can I get salads? Clearly shouldn't have lettuce on street tacos.

What are my chances with a salad at a "good" restaurant? Can I clean salad greens well enough in camp?

Even riding in western Canada or walking in Europe, I get too much meat and not enough greens (for me).

I'll have to adapt my diet to what's available, what's safe, plus some local specialties. Balance needs to include salads.

I've ridden all over US and Canada and visited Europe but this is my first foray into Mexico and south. Been studying Spanish for over 2 years for this trip.

Last edited by DaveGetsLost; 21 Nov 2022 at 20:44. Reason: Add my limited experience
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Old 21 Nov 2022
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Dukoral

For those not familiar with it, Dukoral, an oral vaccine, is not only aimed at cholera.

It's maker also markets it as preventing "diarrhea caused by heat-labile toxin producing enterotoxigenic E. Coli". Which would cover many cases of traveler's diarrhea not including those caused by viruses or parasites.

In any event, it's easy to get (over the counter in Canada) and I've used it on the basis that any reduction in the chances of getting sick is desirable.

Last edited by normw; 21 Nov 2022 at 21:59. Reason: Error
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Old 21 Nov 2022
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGetsLost View Post
Planning to ride from northeastern US to Ushuaia. How can I get salads? Clearly shouldn't have lettuce on street tacos...

What are my chances with a salad at a "good" restaurant? Can I clean salad greens well enough in camp?
...
I'll have to adapt my diet to what's available, what's safe, plus some local specialties. Balance needs to include salads.

Totally agree it's hard to get enough greens.

Our experience has been that it's a crap shoot on getting good safe salads. Better the hotel the safer you are, but not certain. In a resort catering to tourists, they HAVE TO make it safe for tourists.
We bought greens etc in the local market and then always purified the water we used to rinse / wash veggies in a compact folding sink. And did it twice, mostly because of my known tricky belly.
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