Wait a minute I’ll be right back. Phew and Pew!… that was close!
Traveler’s diarrhea is caused by ingesting food or water contaminated by E.coili bacteria. An incident can last 3 to 5 days and may even require spending a day in bed, which would be pretty tough if you were on a bus trip!
Is there protection against traveler’s diarrhea and cholera? Why, yes there is…
It’s a oral vaccine called Dukoral and it can save the day or even several when traveling in parts where your reaction to the food or water may be averse.
I have used it and enjoyed my travels without incident.
Food may be contaminated by washing it in contaminated water or by poor hygiene on the part of cooks, waitersor merchants basically anyone handling your food and drink.
Cholera is a serious diarrheal disease caused by food or water contaminated by the bacterium vibrio cholerae. Common sources of infection are raw or poorly cooked seafood, raw fruit and vegetables, and other foods that have been contaminated during preparation or storage.
Most episodes of cholera are mild. Persons who have been infected may have no symptoms or only mild diarrhea. Others, however, develop very severe watery diarrhea and vomiting. The loss of large amounts of fluids can rapidly lead to severe dehydration causing death, sometimes within three to four hours, if the patient is not treated.
Dukoral is added protection, washing your hands frequently, choosing safe food and water are the best ways to protect yourself.
The following are some guidelines for healthy eating and drinking while traveling:
- Eat foods that are well cooked. Never eat leftovers or food that has been sitting for a long time. Don’t eat food sold by street vendors.
- Make sure dairy products such as milk, cheese, or yogurt are pasteurized and properly refrigerated. If in doubt, avoid them.
- Wash and peel your own fruits and vegetables. Discard if the skin is broken or bruised.
- Don’t eat custards, mousses, mayonnaise, or hollandaise sauce.
- Don’t eat raw vegetables, salads, lettuce, or fruits that cannot be peeled (e.g. grapes, strawberries).
- Don’t eat undercooked or raw meat, fish or shellfish.
- Drink bottled water, bottled drinks, or beverages made with boiled water. Always avoid ice and tap water.
- Use bottled or boiled water for brushing teeth.
- Make your motto: “Cook it, peel it, or forget it!”
When should you use this vaccine?
It is recommended for travelers to developing countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Eastern or Southern Europe.
Dukoral is available in Canada by prescription from your doctor, check with your health care practitioner to see if it is available in your area.