Traveler's Diarrhea Will Ruin Your Vacation. Here's Some No-Shit Advice From a World Traveler.
≡ Menu – Mark Blackard

Traveler’s Diarrhea Will Ruin Your Vacation. Here’s Some No-Shit Advice From a World Traveler.

*LEGAL DISCLAIMER – I’M NOT A LICENSED DOCTOR OR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER! I’m not here giving you medical advice so take this shit with a grain of salt. I’m just telling you what I think, have done, seen, and experienced, will do, etc. when it comes to the sticky topic of Traveler’s Diarrhea. This disclaimer is brought to you by my good friend, Captain Fucking Obvious. He’s got to write this shit to prevent a lawsuit from some skinny-jean-wearing asshole millennial who will blame me if his tummy still hurts after reading my article or watching the video. If you think you have Traveler’s Diarrhea or ANY health problem, go see your doctor or a licensed medical professional instead of consulting me or Dr. Google! Do not take ANY medications without first consulting your doctor. There. That’s all the legal cheese I’m gonna serve. It’s a damn shame the world has evolved to the point where I have to waste my time and write this paragraph.

Traveler’s Diarrhea – (THE SHITS)

The word diarrhea comes from Latin (or maybe it’s Greek) which means A Flowing Through or To Flow Through. It’s known by many colloquial and slang terms. I borrowed a few from the urban thesaurus for your entertainment.

Diarrhea has been referred to as:

  • The Shits
  • The Runs
  • The Trots
  • LBM’s (Loose Bowel Movements)
  • The Hershey Squirts
  • Swamp Ass
  • The Brown Flame
  • Cleveland Tap Water
  • Spreading Mulch
  • Toilet Gravy
  • Chewbacca Sweater

Traveler’s Diarrhea has several nicknames based on geographic locations:

  • Montezuma’s Revenge (Mexico)
  • Delhi Belly (India)
  • Wilderness Diarrhea or Backcountry Diarrhea (Hikers and Backpackers)

Whatever the hell you want to call it, a bad case of the shits will certainly ruin your long-awaited dream vacation. According to U.S. government statistics, approximately 25 to 50 percent of international travelers will find themselves glued to the porcelain god due to Traveler’s Diarrhea.

I decided to write this article and film the YouTube video after my good friend Spider (not his real name) recently became totally incapacitated by Traveler’s Diarrhea here in the Philippines. He was down for the count and is still recovering back in his home country. It reminded me of when I got taken out of commission during a trip to Guatemala about a decade ago. It was the first time I had to pay a visit to the emergency room to solve the issue of diarrhea. Even after returning to the States, it just wouldn’t go away on its own. On another occasion, I found myself unable to leave a port-a-shitter in Kabul. These are all great stories to illustrate how Traveler’s Diarrhea will screw up your day. Please watch the YouTube video to find out how the incidents went down.

What Causes Traveler’s Diarrhea?

Traveler’s diarrhea can be caused by bacteria, a virus, or protozoa (parasites). The most common is bacteria. If you want to learn more about the specific medical and biological properties, just head on over to the CDC’s website and get educated. The exact species, sub-species, family tree, etc., of the bacteria, virus, or parasite really doesn’t matter when you have to shit during turbulence with the seatbelt sign on.

Bacteria

  • E. Coli
  • Shigella
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter
  • Vibrio

Virus

  • Norwalk
  • Rotovirus
  • Enteroviruses
  • Norovirus (Cruise Ships)

Protozoa (Parasites)

  • Giardia
  • Cryptosporidium parvum
  • Entamoeba histolytica

How Do You Get Traveler’s Diarrhea?

Let me make a long story short. You probably ate some shit. Literally. You ingested some fecally-contaminated water in some form or fashion. Here are just a few ways those tiny morsels of poop got into your system via the fecal-oral (shit to mouth) route of ingestion.

  • By simply drinking the local tap water. In most places outside of the West, you CANNOT drink from the faucet.
  • By brushing your teeth using the local tap water.
  • By a food service worker not washing his/her dirty hands with soap after taking a dump.
  • By eating foods such as fruits, raw vegetables, and lettuce washed in the local tap water.
  • By eating undercooked food, especially shellfish.
  • By being served a drink containing ice made from the local tap water.
  • By drinking juice or tea made with local tap water.
  • Fountain drinks. The water may not be properly filtered.
  • By licking on someone’s asshole during sexual intercourse.
  • By licking in the general vicinity (within dingleberry range) of someone’s asshole during sexual intercourse.
  • By having sewage water splashed in your face during a river taxi ride.
  • By opening your mouth while taking a long hot shower.

You can get Traveler’s Diarrhea in any country. While most industrialized countries are low risk, you can still get it, even in the good old United States of America. Don’t believe me? Just head on up to Detroit and get a big drink of their delicious tap water on the rocks. Let me know how that works out for you. However, I will admit, when someone from the West travels to tropical areas, the risk of catching Traveler’s Diarrhea is pretty certain if they’re not careful.

I’ve been living in Southeast Asia for about a decade. I brush my teeth with the tap water and eat whatever the hell I want. I order ice in my drinks, eat fresh vegetables at restaurants, and I’ll certainly tear up a salad bar (rare event) whenever I can find one. I don’t get sick but I’ve had ten years of building antibodies tailored to dealing with the antigens and pathogens here. If it’s your first trip to Southeast Asia, your immune system will be going to war against some shit it never knew existed.

Here’s an example to illustrate this: Every day, I see kids swimming in rivers full of slow-moving sewage here in the Philippines. Their immune systems are impervious to the bacteria and bugs lurking in these rivers of shit. If you or I were to do a cannonball off the bridge into the same body of water, we’d probably die within days. Being from the West, our immune systems are just not prepared to handle what locals have grown up with. The Aztecs found this shit out the hard way when a dude named Cortés showed up.

Is Traveler’s Diarrhea Contagious?

Yes. Traveler’s Diarrhea is contagious. Some of the pathogens responsible for Traveler’s Diarrhea can live for hours or days outside the body on the surface of an object. Every time you touch a handrail, a door handle, a faucet, money, a menu, a seatbelt, the buttons on an elevator, the keypad or screen at an ATM machine, or open the door to the taxi, etc., you are potentially being exposed. It’s the same risk as if you shook hands with a stranger who just wiped his ass.

By simply touching your face after coming in contact with a contaminated surface, you may be introducing the pathogen into your mouth, eyes, or nose.

Symptoms of Traveler’s Diarrhea

Traveler’s Diarrhea will obviously affect each person differently, but here are the common signs and symptoms:

  • Bad case of the shits that won’t go away.
  • Fever
  • Body aches and sweats
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Shitting like a goose.
  • Shitting more than 13 times per day.
  • Landmine Shits (The second your ass cheeks touch the toilet seat your asshole explodes.)
  • Dehydration
  • If you shit your pants. That’s a really good indicator of Traveler’s Diarrhea.
  • If you shit in the bed. That’s an even better indicator of Traveler’s Diarrhea.
  • Having to shit in less than 32 seconds after eating solid food.
  • If you’re curled up in the fetal position from severe shit pains and can’t leave the bathroom floor.
  • If you end up having to use your socks to wipe your ass after an an entire roll of toilet paper couldn’t accomplish the mission.

Diagnosis of Traveler’s Diarrhea – What to Do

Head on over to the local hospital wherever you’re at. They will ask you for a stool sample and draw blood. If you’re in Southeast Asia, the hospital bill will be pennies compared to what you’re used to in your home country. Just because you checked with Doctor Google and you think you merely have Traveler’s Diarrhea, let a doctor rule out an acute appendicitis or something more severe or potentially fatal.

Stool Sample

The lab needs some of your poop in order to do an analysis. You’ll probably get a small plastic cup in which to collect the sample. Just go in the bathroom, shit in the cup, and drop it off at the nurse’s station. Most hospitals over here ain’t got no cute little window in the restroom where you insert the sample discretely. Just march on out of there and plop that cup down with pride, right on the nurse’s desk.

It seems like an easy process and usually there aren’t many detailed instructions issued as to how to accomplish this task. Here are some considerations when collecting your own stool sample:

  • Shit directly into the small plastic cup.
  • DO NOT shit in the toilet and then scoop out the sample from the toilet water. You will be collecting leftover bacteria from the man who was in there before you plus the local tap water. There’s no telling what’s been living in that toilet so it will skew your results.
  • AFTER shitting in the small plastic cup, put the lid on there tight. THEN wash off the excess poop in the sink. Don’t try to wash it off BEFORE putting on the lid. You may accidentally get some tap water in the sample and it will skew the results.
  • BEFORE you go into the bathroom, make sure there is some toilet paper, an ass sprayer, or a bucket of water with a scoop. Even though you are in a hospital, you’re not in Kansas anymore. Take a couple of rolls of shit paper with you and maybe some wet wipes when you go to the hospital or clinic.

Blood Test

They’ll need some blood to send to the lab. There’s nothing special for you to do on this one. Understand that at some hospitals way out in the sticks (remote) outside of the West, they may not use rubber gloves. Hey, welcome to the rest of the world. Don’t freak out by it. Rubber gloves cost money. Not all hospitals on our planet have the budget to purchase rubber gloves. It’s just the way it is.

Wait for the Lab Results

After they draw blood and you submit a stool sample, it’s a waiting game to see what the lab has to say. At a middle-of-the-road hospital they will probably just tell you that you have Traveler’s Diarrhea. At a more modern facility, they may say you have E. Coli or Giardia, etc.

Treatment of Traveler’s Diarrhea

Let’s say the doctor has diagnosed you with Traveler’s Diarrhea during your vacation to Central America. What’s the treatment?

Antibiotics

The doctor should prescribe some type of antibiotic. The type of antibiotic will depend on what you’ve got and to an extent, what country you’re in and what the doctors there are used to prescribing. Here are just a few names you can familiarize yourself with:

  • Doxycycline
  • Bactrim
  • Sepra
  • Cipro (Ciprofloxacin)
  • Ofloxacin
  • ZithroMAX (zithromycin)
  • Metronidazole (Flagyl)

Get the antibiotic and take it as prescribed. However, don’t totally trust the doctor’s diagnosis and don’t trust the antibiotic.

Now, I know a lot of folks are going to hit me since I just said that. But, when it comes to your health, you need to be sure. So let me clarify this statement where I don’t sound like the ugly American.

First of all, I haven’t seen an American doctor in years so don’t think I’m an elitist. I’m quite the opposite but I’m giving YOU, the infrequent traveler, the guy/gal who lives in Kansas, the best advice I can give. I personally have to trust the system here in Southeast Asia because this is where I live. But YOU probably pay a ton of money to have health insurance in your home country. Use it and recover some of YOUR hard-earned money spent on those sky-high monthly premiums.

Continuing on with my thoughts…If I’m at Bangkok Hospital in Thailand, I trust them. I trust most of the pharmacies in Thailand. I’ve never been sold less-than-authentic medications and I’ve never received any crazy medical advice in Thailand.

However, I don’t trust the hospitals anywhere else in Southeast Asia as a whole. I’m wary and skeptical until they prove me wrong. Are there good hospitals in the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam? Sure there are, but not on the level of those in Thailand. I often tell people that if you get really sick in Southeast Asia, just make it to Thailand and you’ll live. Don’t believe me? Get sick in Laos and ride that little adventure for a day in their health care system. Then, swim your ass across the Mekong River into Thailand and crawl to a hospital. It will be as if you went forward in time about 50 years.

My point is that if you get sick on some small island in the Philippines and go to a mom-and-pop hospital without a lab (which is basically a first-aid station), you still need to follow up with a doctor back in your home country as soon as you return. That’s my advice. In my opinion, if a doctor is diagnosing you without lab results, he’s playing a guessing game. He’s going off of what is most probable to him/her, based on your signs and symptoms. This is purely a subjective diagnosis. You need some objective lab results.

If you buy medication from a small pharmacy on a small island, don’t trust it. I’m not saying that the meds are fake, even though you should always be on the lookout for counterfeit drugs. What I am saying is that sometimes the drugs may have been manufactured in China at a less-than-reputable pharmaceutical company, or they expired three years ago, or they haven’t been stored properly, etc. Therefore, the meds may be combat ineffective.

Please watch the YouTube video as I tell my story about getting a bad batch of doxycycline here in the Philippines.

My advice is to follow up with your own doctor as soon as you return to your home country. Simple. Let them evaluate you. Let them make sure you don’t have some exotic fucking tape worm a mile long growing in your small intestine. Those cases are rare, but why take the chance? Even the best doctors miss a diagnosis every now and then.

One more point. In some countries, you have to present a doctor’s prescription to be able to purchase antibiotics.

Here in the Philippines, you must now show the pharmacist a prescription. Back in the good old days, you could just walk into the pharmacy and tell them to give you 100 doxycycline tablets. Those days are gone. Therefore, you might as well head straight to the local hospital and get started from there.

In other countries you are still able to purchase antibiotics without a prescription but I think eventually they will all follow suit and require a doctor’s order.

Hydrate

Oh, yeah. You will need to hydrate yourself. That’s obvious. It’s very easy to become dehydrated when your asshole is doubling as a water hose.

I always hydrate with Gatorade and then a beer. Just rotate the two and you’ll be feeling better in no time.

Pepto Bismol and Immodium

But what about Pepto Bismol and Immodium? Well, I’m sure the doctor will probably prescribe one of these concoctions as well. But folks, Pepto Bismol and Immodium are useless when real warfare is being waged in your gut. If you’ve got heartburn from too much spaghetti sauce or a rumbling from that big, spicy bean burrito, then by all means take Pepto or Immodium. You’ll probably feel better. When it comes to bad bacteria or parasites in your system, you’re wasting your time. It’s like prescribing an aspirin for a headache caused by Meningitis. Aspirin ain’t gonna cure the underlying problem. Pepto Bismol and Immodium are not going to take down a hard-hitting pathogen that’s caused you to shit mud pudding for a week.

Prevention of Traveler’s Diarrhea – The Important Part

The best way to deal with Traveler’s Diarrhea is to not have to deal with it in the first place. Prevention is the name of the game, my friends. Here’s what you can do to avoid getting the shits while traveling.

Don’t do stupid shit while traveling.

If you get drunk and let someone talk you into eating a raw chunk of warm asshole from a water buffalo the locals just killed, you deserve to get a case of the runs.

For example, here in the Philippines there is such a thing called Balut. It’s a duck egg that they allow to develop until the 18-day mark. Then they boil it and serve it up. You’re basically eating a dead baby duck including the beak, feathers, and all. Yeah, it’s boiled. I’ve had Balut before and I didn’t get sick. The taste isn’t bad but the sight of the baby duck will make you want to puke. If you know your stomach is sensitive already, don’t eat the damn Balut.

Why take a chance that could get you sick and ruin your vacation? If you want to try the local delicacies, wait until the last day of your trip. That way, you’ll be back home when the Delhi Belly kicks in. You can take sick days from work and extend the holiday from the comfort of your toilet seat at home.

I did something stupid in Guatemala and it cost me. I detail that incident in the video so I won’t repeat the long story here. It has something to do with scraping off an inch of nastiness on top of a delicious vat of days-old cheese dip.

I love to live on the dangerous side. I’ll never tell you to turn down any adventure. Eat the balut, the days-old dip, and the water buffalo’s asshole. Roll the dice and see what happens. But, if you’ve paid a lot of money for a scripted two-week tour of Southeast Asia, be smart about what you eat.

Take Basic Precautions

  • Don’t drink the local tap water.
  • Brush your teeth with bottled water.
  • Be wary of ice! If not 100% sure the ice is from filtered water, dump the ice.
  • Be wary of juice! Restaurants and vendors will often mix water with juice.
  • Be wary of smoothies and frozen drinks! They contain ice.
  • Don’t trust or buy water from a guy walking in and out of traffic! I don’t care if there’s no air-conditioning in the taxi, it’s 120 degrees, traffic is at a stand still, and you’ve got cotton mouth. He may have filled the bottle from tap water and put a new cap on it. Hey, times are hard in some places and people do what they have to in order to survive. Many of these folks walking in and out of traffic are homeless to begin with. Never buy bottled water from a street vendor or shady store. Inspect that bottle of water closely no matter where you bought it. If it looks like the cap is fucked up, super glued to the little safety rim, or the water is less than crystal clear, don’t drink it.
  • Drink BEER. That’s probably the number one reason I never get sick while traveling. Seek out cold beer from the can or bottle. If you go with a draft, you run the risk that they haven’t properly cleaned the damn tap or double dipped the spout from the last guy’s glass. Don’t let them put ice in your beer, either. If you want to split hairs, I’d say beer in a can is the safest bet. I’ve seen bars recap bottles of beer that got ordered by mistake and put them right back in the cooler. It’s easy to recap a bottle but damn-near impossible to get that tab back in place on an aluminum can. This is also a topic for travel safety altogether. If you’re in a shady-ass border town, the bars will often bring the bottle of beer to your table and open it in front of you. That gives you the confidence that the beer hasn’t been spiked with ketamine. But, it’s a false sense of security due to what I just described about how easy it is to recap the bottle. Cans opened in front of you are the safest route in my opinion. They’re not always available, but at least now you’re thinking about this issue.
  • Only eat food that is cooked. Raw vegetables are delicious but you’re taking a chance they were washed in unfiltered water. I love a good salad but the same applies. Wait until you get back home to eat your grilled chicken over that bed of iceberg lettuce.
  • Only eat fruits that you personally peel. If you didn’t peel it, the vendor may have washed it off with unfiltered water.
  • Wash your hands frequently or carry that alcohol gel stuff. If you open one door out in the public, you just shook hands with thirty people who didn’t wash properly after taking a shit. When you go into a public bathroom while traveling outside the West, show me a bar of soap. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Soap ain’t free once you leave America. It’s a rare commodity in a public restroom. Therefore, ain’t many folks washing their hands with soap when leaving said public restroom. Moral of the story? Wash your hands frequently. Don’t touch your face unnecessarily and damn sure don’t be biting your nails (if you are prone to that habit).
  • If riding on any type of river boat, make sure water don’t get splashed into your face. It only takes a tiny amount of water in your mouth for you to get sick.
  • Filtered water doesn’t always mean safe drinking water. The filters used to filter the water cost money. In poverty-stricken areas, how often do you think they change the damn filters at the water filling station? Not very often, my friends. It’s cheaper to bribe the local inspector than it is to buy a new filter. Stick to bottled water, from a reputable brand, sold in a reputable store.
  • Wear a condom and abstain from oral sex while traveling. You’re too close to the asshole of your partner during oral sex and could pick up bacteria via the direct oral-fecal express route.
  • Don’t carry on a conversation when taking a shower. While you’re running that flapper discussing with your spouse about where to eat breakfast, local tap water is free flowing into your mouth. When you take a shower, shut the hell up and focus on the task at hand.

If you implement these basic precautions are you 100% guaranteed to not get any pathogen in your system? Nope. But you are substantially reducing the odds.

Ask Your Doctor about Preventative / Prophylactic Medication

Talk to your doctor and inform her/him that you will be traveling outside of your home country. See what your doctor has to say about taking antibiotics prophylactically as a preventative measure against certain infections. I’m not suggesting this but your doctor may.

When I deployed to Afghanistan, everyone was required to take 100 mg of Doxycycline (1 tablet) per day as an anti-malarial agent. We were supposed to take it for 30 days prior to our arrival in Afghanistan, every day while there, and 30 days after we returned to the United States. Personally, I didn’t take it as prescribed because Doxycycline will upset your stomach for a couple of hours.

Ask your doctor if they think you should be on Doxycycline as a preventative and precautionary measure for your trip. This should certainly help prevent and combat Traveler’s Diarrhea.

Arm Yourself with Emergency Medications

Here’s what I’m armed with at all times while traveling by orders from Doctor Marcos:

  • 30 tablets of 100 mg Doxycycline
  • 1 Z-Pack of Zithromax (Azithromycin) 250 mg tablets (total of 6)

This is my first aid kit for world travel. It will cure anything from Traveler’s Diarrhea, to Chlamydia, to an infection from a cut, to a respiratory tract infection, to a skin infection, to Pink Eye (bacterial conjunctivitis), and a lot of other nasty shit in between. It will probably wipe out Gonorrhea as well but they actually recommend an intramuscular injection of ceftriaxone along with the Zithromax.

If I were to be stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash, my emergency medication kit would be the one survival item I would choose. You can keep your Swiss Army Knife, your fish hooks, signal mirror, and the para-cord bracelet. Just let me carry my emergency medication kit and I promise I’ll live longer than you. If they ever let me on that show Alone, the other contestants might as well give up on the first day and spare themselves the misery. That prize money is mine.

You may think this is overkill or that it’s irresponsible to take antibiotics without some type of diagnosis by a medical professional. That’s true if you have immediate access to medical care. You should just go get checked out and let a doctor decide your fate. However, if you don’t have access to a hospital for several days or weeks, the Doxycycline and Zithromax may save your ass.

To double tap an issue I’ve already covered, you don’t want to be trying to find medication while traveling the Overstay Road. Buy meds in your home country with the advice and guidance of your doctor. That way you know you’re getting a genuine, real, not-expired product. You’ll also have a legitimate prescription to show customs and immigration if they question you about the meds.

Watch the YouTube video and listen to my story about trying to find Doxycycline in Cebu City late one night.

MY Emergency Self-Treatment Protocol

If I’m off the beaten path and away from a health care facility or provider, I have a simple, two-pronged, emergency self-treatment protocol in place as a backup. Think it’s not needed? Well, maybe in a perfect world. But what happens if you’re on a small island and a damn typhoon blows through? Suddenly there’s no power, no running water, and the damn ferry service can’t operate for days. Sewage and sanitation suddenly becomes a huge problem. Maybe the airfield is flooded out to where planes can’t land. What are you going to do if you get sick? Call 911? There ain’t no damn 911 in a lot of places around our globe, especially during a natural disaster. You’re on your own and the embassy ain’t coming to rescue you. Hell, the mighty U.S. government couldn’t even rescue people in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Think about that. If I know I’m in trouble to the point that my normal immune system cannot solve a problem, I resort to my emergency medical kit.

Again, I’m not directing or advocating that you do any of this. If you do any of what you’re reading here, you’re on your own. I’m merely sharing with you what I do for MY body.

I don’t abuse antibiotics and fully understand the ramifications of their continued over use. You can spare me the lecture on drug-resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance in general. I only take antibiotics when I feel their use is absolutely necessary for my health.

Your body can fight off a lot of things but some problems aren’t going away without help. If you don’t have access to a doctor or professional healthcare facility, the use of antibiotics may be the best and only immediate treatment option available.

Minor Problem

If I develop the shits that won’t go away after several days or a week of allowing my body’s immune system to attack the issue, I’ll take one doxycycline tablet (100 mg) per day for three or four days. Usually, this cures most problems and no further treatment is needed. If I’m off the beaten path, I ration the doxycycline tablets like they are gold. You don’t want to take them unnecessarily and you damn sure don’t want to run out in case something worse pops up.

Major Problem or Exposure

If I know 100% that I’ve been exposed to some really bad food, severely contaminated water, or that I’ve caught the clap after a night of partying, I don’t fuck around. It’s time for the KING’s CURE. Now, I only take this route when the symptoms match the exposure and the probability is that 100 mg of doxycycline ain’t gonna do the trick. You have to break out the big guns. My treatment regime is to immediately take 4 tablets of Zithromax (250 mg), which always gets washed down with a beer. That’s tradition. The beer is to help with the psychological effects of catching the clap and the trauma of having to take the damn antibiotics in the first place. Twenty-four hours later I take the other 2 tablets from the Z-pack along with a cold beer. Twenty-four hours later I start taking 1 doxycycline tablet (100 mg) per day for 10 days. Yep, wash those down with a Heineken as well. That treatment regime will cure almost any travel-related ailment IN MY BODY. I have no idea what it will do for you so ask your doctor.

After Your Vacation

I’m a constant traveler and an Expat by definition. I consider myself a current resident of Planet Earth and a Citizen of Nowhere. I have no real home anymore. The following advice doesn’t apply to folks like me but is golden to the infrequent traveler. I’m sort of repeating myself from a paragraph above but so be it.

Here’s what I would do if I took an international trip during my one and only two-week vacation per year.

As soon as I got back to my home country, I would go get a physical examination and full blood work. This is regardless of whether I felt sick, great, or anywhere in between.

It’s simple. Just schedule your annual checkup for the day after you return from the Serengeti Plain. Tell your doc where you just got back from and let him/her run the full meal deal on your ass. Make sure you give the doctor some context as to WHAT you were doing on the Serengeti Plain. Were you petting Zebras? Did a lion turn around and spray piss on you from his asshole? Did you cut yourself while crossing a river? Did you get water sprayed in your face from an elephant? Did other people in your tour group get sick? These questions are examples but my point is to paint a picture for the doctor as to what you were up to. She or he will then know WHAT to test you for.

Since it’s an annual physical, your insurance company may even pay for the extra tests. That way, if you pick up a bug, some bacteria, intestinal parasites, etc., you catch the problem early. That’s what I would do if I left my home country one time per year and had some health insurance.

To drive my point home, you should read this article about a young lady who contracted rabies while on a trip to the Philippines. She was playing with a puppy and it bit her. Some time after returning to Norway she fell ill and later died from rabies. My heart goes out to her family but I’m using her case to illustrate the importance of a routine physical for the one-time-per-year traveler immediately after an international trip. It just makes sense to me.

This case also illustrates the importance of communicating with your doctor about WHAT you did during your vacation.

According to online news reports, the young lady was back in Norway for some time before doctors finally figured out what was wrong with her. By then it was too late.

In Closing

Folks, there are some nasty things you can catch out there in this beautiful world that will kill you. Don’t screw around with your health. If you get sick while traveling don’t assume it’s simply Traveler’s Diarrhea.  Good old Dr. Google and Dr. Marcos ain’t gonna help you if you have a serious problem. Take your ass to the hospital and be honest with the doctor. If you corn-holed three hookers in the ass during a drunken stupor and now you’ve got a fever, the shits, and something dripping out of the end of your penis, tell the doc exactly that.

I hope you enjoyed this article and that it invoked some thought in you, the reader and traveler. Discuss these points with your doctor before you embark on your first trip away from your home country.

This article wasn’t meant to cover immunizations but bring that up with your doctor as well.

My friend Spider’s main point about his recent bout with Traveler’s Diarrhea is that it ruined his vacation. He asked me to reiterate this to my readers and viewers. He basically came to the Philippines, enjoyed three days, and then divided his time between the toilet and the hospital until he departed.

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