When traveling internationally, I do not think a day goes by when a passenger quietly pulls me aside and ask what tips I could share with them, to help them stay in chipper health, when traveling internationally! Time is right for me to share with you some very honest reflection to aid you on your international adventurers!
- First rule of caution – the poorer the country, the greater the risk!
Though this may seem obvious - beware, do take into consideration the whole of the country. Just because a city or country have 5-Star rated hotels, like a Marriott or Hilton, does not assure that whatever you eat or drink will be 100% safe – one must remain vigilant at all times.
It is obvious, you would not eat what is cooked from a vendor on the street – but you also should be careful and follow my guidelines when dinning in the finest hotels and restaurants.
Case in point: India. We fly to Mumbai and Delhi and as cabin crew, we often take a local taxi to the Taj Mahal and other destinations. As crew we stay in five star American hotels, and one would think the same cleanliness protocols remains the same as in any other property throughout the world. Standards of course are the same, but not always followed.
Montezuma's Revenge, unfortunately, can attack anyone – no matter one's age. Below I will list some guidelines and prevention protocols that will assist you, though not always guarantee, in keeping yourself in top health!
- Prior to your trip: What to bring for prevention of diarrhea.
Dukoral – an oral vaccine. This will reduce your risk by 30%
Pepto Bismol (2 tablets or tbsp 4 times a day) – reduces risk by 50%
Probiotics, grapefruit seed extract, oregano and a “scotch a day” - these less proven as preventative measures.
- Follow the anti-bacterial wipes of hands all of which we follow regularly. Keep your hands away from your hair or face at all times!
- If you do get sick, remember most important thing is to stay hydrated. Even better solutions will have some salt, some bicarbonate and some sugar. Soup with salt, tea with sugar and flat coke. Imodium or loperamide will help, but be careful and take in small quantities as you do not want to be constipated the rest of your trip for these solutions are very powerful.
- Trip to your Doctor prior to travel: I always have on hand ciprofloxacin or azythromycin. These medications always my back up for a quick relief.
One word – caution! I only drink, brush my teeth with US bottle still water. If I no not have a water bottle and have to purchase, it is always carbonated! One can never trust still water! As to shower – just keep away from your mouth! And most importantly, NO ICE in your drinks! If you have to have some fruit, be sure YOU peel the fruit and not indulge from the beautiful breakfast display platter! If you are in a Air B&B, purchasing your foods in the local grocery – and have to have that salad, just be sure you really soak it in chlorine (bleach – 2 drops per liter) or get a product called Aquatabs which you can safely wash your produce! I remember as a little girl when we lived in Madrid, Spain, my mother would wash local lettuce in bleach!
A word of caution for those of you who have never gotten sick – one word – you have been lucky – but there is NO guarantee your next meal from the little boy on the street won't do you in! Luck truly plays a role and many travelers never seem to get sick – but why take the chance? Just be careful and practice good hygiene!
Hope some of these insider secrets will help you with your world travels! These are what we practice and most of the time we do remain well as crew – but even with the best protocols that we follow, old Montezuma does somehow mischievously get access! So it does happen so be vigilant
March 10, 2017