Bugs and Bowels

No one likes having diarrhea or vomiting but it can be really miserable when you are far from home. Despite following food and water precautions, you might still get sick when you travel especially to Mexico and under developed countries.

If you are having significant diarrhea without vomiting and you have a prescription for an antibiotic such as ciprofloxin or azithromycin, start it. You may feel much better after one dose.  Prescriptions such as these are given at your pre travel consultation.  (Didn’t go to a travel clinic before your trip? Don’t make that mistake again.)

If you are vomiting, start with about a tablespoon of bottled water, tea, soda, or juice every 10 -15 minutes.  If that doesn’t stay down, try a teaspoon every 10 minutes. If you have access to ice made with bottled water, suck on some ice chips. Some fluid can get absorbed through your mouth and feels good. If you have oral rehydration solution, mix that with bottled water to replace electrolytes. Avoid sports drinks as they are designed to replace fluids lost from perspiration not the stomach tract. Gradually add fluids and food as you feel better. If you just have water, add some foods with  salt such as potato chips or pretzels.

The blue areas indicate countries with high risk of traveler’s diarrhea.

Staying hydrated is very important , especially in a hot humid climate. If you have severe abdominal pain, a fever, or can’t hold anything down, develop blood in your stools, get very thirsty and continue to feel worse, seek health care.

Be sure to plan ahead for treating vomiting and diarrhea when away by bringing a prescription for an antibiotic, a thermometer, and oral rehydration salt packets.

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Get Your Feet Wet


On January 14, 2011 Gail Rosselot, ANP, CTC, FAANP and I will be escorting a group aboard Cruise West’s “Pacific Explorer” through Panama and Costa Rica. This 9-day 10-night cruise begins in Panama, transits through the Panama Canal and heads along the Pacific coast north toward Costa Rica’s beautiful Los Suenos Marina. We are offering a continuing education program in travel medicine for primary care providers and those in travel medicine.

Highlights of the trip include swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and visiting botanical gardens, national parks, and spending the day with an indigenous tribe only accessible by Zodiac boats.

This trip of a lifetime is open to those with a sense of adventure and although workshops will be offered to NP’s, PA’s, RN’s and MD’s. But anyone interested in exploring Central America is welcome to join the group (even if you decide not to participate in the conference) and group discounts apply to all.

I have traveled with Cruise West and I am impressed with the level of service they offer. The ship’s capacity is 100 passengers. Everyone is so friendly and the naturalists onboard are are so well informed about the local wildlife, birds, peoples and culture. The solo traveler as well as the one who brings friends or family will all feel welcome.

Unpack once and be prepared to be awed by the beauty that is all around you. The rates include everything except alcohol, and tips are not required or expected. It is such a relaxing way to travel.

This is not a typical cruise ship. Getting dressed up for dinner means putting shorts on over your bathing suit. Space is limited so sign up today.

For full information visit www.unique-workshops.com.