Travel Illness & How it Can Be Avoided..

Deirdre was so excited about her holidays , two weeks away in the sunshine..towards the end of her holiday she was beginning to feel just not right, queezy..she put it down to the usual ..alcohol, the heat, the change of diet..upon her return home and to work she was very sick, vomiting all of the time, if not feeling very nauseous, she had no appetite and was rapidly losing weight, the doctor treated her for a tummy bug and said it would pass in a few days.

He was right, the symptoms subsided for a very short while and then they suddenly reared their ugly head again in a slightly different way. She now found after eating a meal she could suddenly have projectile vomiting, this again only happened randomly but it was happening more and more frequently. Deirdre then concluded she must have some food intolerance..

I often treat people who are simply feeling unwell following return from travelling. This feeling can vary in severity and can usually be easily treated but more importantly easily avoided. Due to the change of eating habits and environments..travellers sickness can be quite common especially amongst the young and elderly. Onset of illness is most common within the first week of travel but can happen at any time even after you return home.

Common symptoms of gastrointestinal illness or travellers bug often include, change in bowel habits.., nausea, vomiting, fever, tiredness , abdominal cramping and loss of appetite are all quite common. Gastrointestinal illness is usually associated with parasite infestation or E.coli bacteria. In Deirdre’s case, she didn’t have any food intolerances but an infestation of parasites which were having a field day in her gut. The random occurrences’ she was experiencing was due to their breeding cycle.

With the onset of diarrhoea drink plenty of water to aid in the flushing out of the toxin and prevent dehydration.

There are a number of precautions you can take. Depending on where you travel to you may need to get specific vaccinations to protect against cholera, malaria and so on. The mistake people make is thinking once they are vaccinated that they won’t pick up anything or by travelling to locations where no specific vaccinations are needed that all is safe e.g in Europe.

Maintaining good hygiene and drinking only safe water, even for teeth brushing is a must and avoiding ice cubes which may be from untreated tap water.

Avoid eating raw fruit and vegetables anywhere unless you are sure the environment is safe. This includes salads or any food that does not require cooking. Always go to restaurants that are busy…this is usually the best proof you can find that this restaurant has good quality safe food and practices in place.

Hand-washing, especially with children is a must to prevent contamination from unhygienic surfaces. In case of emergencies or if you are in a situation where you cannot wash your hands before eating always have some antiseptic wipes to hand.

Motion sickness can usually be avoided by having plenty of rest before travelling. The more tired you are the more likely the occurrence of motion sickness. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary foods. Ginger supplements taken before & during travel is very beneficial in helping to reduce or eliminate motion sickness altogether.

Other natural aids are Vitamin C, Ginger, Echinacea, Capsicum, Tea tree oil, camomile essential oil to name just a few. Enjoy your hols!