Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Getting Sick and Staying Healthy

One of our most frequently emailed questions is if we didn't get sick on our trips*. And to this we have to respond- absolutely we got sick. It's almost inevitable that when you're away for a long time you will get something at some point (very much like you would eventually get a cold from someone in the office when you're home).

Our two most common afflictions were allergy induced coughing/runny nose/itchy eyes, due to pollution, and good ol' food poisoning.

The first is really unavoidable when you are traveling in cities that are very polluted. Really the best solution is going outside the city/ies for a while and it will go away by itself. Although we have been known to be knocked out by some Benadryl as well.

The second is avoidable, but only barely. We have to admit, most of the times we got sick were a result of eating street food/in an obviously unsanitary restaurant. We could usually pin-point the culprit after the fact. And yet, we really wouldn't like to have to give up those experiences. So if it means the occasional 24 hour bug, so be it.

Those traveling for a shorter time period (let say a couple weeks vs. a couple months) probably DO want to be More Careful. Because being sick on a short vacation is a bummer. So to avoid this, general common sense rules apply:

1- Eat in places that are busy- it indicates the place is probably ok, and the food is more likely to be fresh.

2- Avoid stands where the oil is just sitting there. This should be a flashing exclamation point telling you to stay away.

3- To be really safe, avoid fresh fruits and vegetables in developing countries. There is a high likelihood that they were watered with "dirty" water and your stomach is not used to the local bacteria.

4- Drink clean water! More on that next time...

What do you do to stay healthy when traveling abroad?

*We rarely blog about our ailments while on the road because we don't want people to worry back home, and generally by the time we're at a computer, said ailment is gone. Also, we don't think people read our travel blog to hear us complain about how we got sick.

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