How to avoid falling ill on vacation

40 percent of travelers contract infectious disease: Here are some tips to help you return unscathed


Make text smaller Make text larger



Photos



  • Handle fruits and vegetables with care when traveling out of the country.



Dr. Brent Laartz thought he was in for the ride of his lifetime when he set out on a horseback riding excursion in Costa Rica.

But Laartz, an infectious disease specialist and author of the book "How to Avoid Contagious Diseases," failed to take some of the precautions necessary to avoid becoming one of the 40 percent of travelers every year who bring back an unwanted souvenir of a major illness from their trip.

“While on vacation it becomes entirely necessary to be more observant of the conditions that are in place that could harm you,” Laartz says.

He offers tips on how to protect yourself on your next trip:

Avoid local water in all forms. When you shower, don’t ingest the water and don’t be afraid to ask for a drink without ice. In lesser developed countries there is less infrastructure for clean water, effective sewage and public health. If you can’t avoid unsanitary water, make sure you have iodine tablets and bring along a tea or coffee-making device that will boil water for you. Furthermore, you should buy a case or two of water when you arrive at a destination and check that all bottle caps are sealed to assure the bottled water isn’t just a refilled bottle of dirty, parasite-infested tap water.

Protect your feet at all times. Use flip flops in the shower, and if you must be barefoot, put a towel down on the floor. Parasites can enter the skin of your feet and travel to different parts of the body. For the same reason that you should wear flip flops in the shower, you should never walk barefoot in any area of a foreign country, including your hotel room.

Beware of fruits, vegetables and condiments. If a fruit such as apples or bananas – which can both be peeled – isn’t available, it’s best to avoid. Any fruit or vegetable served fresh may have been washed in the same water, or wiped with the same rag used to clean work surfaces in kitchens. The best advice is to bring your own peeler so that you know nothing unsanitary has been applied to the fruit. Food such as potato salad and coleslaw, which contain uncooked mayonnaise, should also be avoided. And beware of any condiment not served in a bottle.

By-pass the roadside stands. The aroma coming from that roadside stand or little corner of an open-air market might smell great, but unless the food is piping hot when served, the best idea is to leave it alone. If you are concerned about the sanitation of a restaurant, order the food to go. Styrofoam boxes may be cleaner than the plate or fork on the table.

“How you protect yourself will determine whether your trip goes off without a hiccup,” Laartz says, “or whether you become another vacation casualty.”


Make text smaller Make text larger

Comments

Pool Rules



MUST READ NEWS

Image 'Faure-In-A-Day' workshop coming to Drew Methodist
, N.Y. — All singers are welcome to a one-day "Faure Requiem" workshop hosted by the Tri-State Chorale from 2 to 5...
Image Anti-Semitic graffiti found at Airport Diner days before Rosh Hashanah
BY ERIKA NORTON
Residents in the Sussex/Wantage area woke up on Sunday morning to news of a grim discovery —...
Image What DV did on its summer vacation
By Anya Tikka
— The Delaware Valley School District's main campus saw some timely physical updates during the summer, some...
Image Winsome writers and rabid readers flock to festival
By Marilyn Rosenthal
— Rachel Robinson and her husband Steve Dixon, both young attorneys from the Washington, D.C., area, drove...

VIDEOS



Sign up to get our newsletter emailed to you every week!

  • Enter your email address in the box below.
  • Select the newsletters you would like to subscribe to.
  • Click the 'SUBSCRIBE' button.



MOST READ

Entertainment
St. Joseph's to hold tricky tray
  • Sep 17, 2017
Where in clues
Pike's Peek
  • Sep 14, 2017
Local News
Chamber awards dinner rescheduled
  • Sep 19, 2017
Entertainment
Newton Theatre to present A Christmas Carol
  • Sep 18, 2017
Local News
Delaware River frack ban moves forward
  • Sep 14, 2017
Entertainment
Readers and Writers Festival gets busy
  • Sep 14, 2017
Local News
Venturing toward Alaska
  • Sep 13, 2017

MOST COMMENTED



Weather in Milford, PA