Monday, 17 April 2017

AVOIDING GETTING POORLY ABROAD


Being poorly can be horrible, but throw in unfamiliar territory, in a foreign country and it can only be summed up as a living hell. There is nothing worse than getting poorly when you are travelling abroad. I have had this happen to me so I'm writing to help you travel better regardless if you're unfortunate to become unwell. Firstly let me tell you this might get a little graphic and our reader friendship is going to be crossing a line. You've been warned!


Let's kick things off by giving you my travel bug background. I was a lucky girl and never got poorly when I went travelling, I managed to dodge every bullet whenever we went away until 2014. The most hideous scenario possible and it has made me strike off that part of the world because of it. Hubby and I don't tend to do big trips together, we do small spontaneous weekends and have only been abroad together maybe a handful of times in our 10 years? So we set out to Hugarda for a trip to the Red Sea in an all inclusive 5 star hotel. I'd heard of travel sickness horror stories from Egypt but because we were in such a fabulous hotel I assumed it wouldn't even be on our radar. I knew not to drink the water and only have bottled, but that was as far as it went.


The first couple of days were fantastic, lots of sunshine, lazy days on the lazy river and all you could eat/drink. Day 3 and husband said he didn't feel so hot. This became a quick downward spiral and something that kind of haunts me. Just to highlight Nick is never ever ill, this guy is like iron man, he didn't have a doctor until he met me because he was just annoyingly invisible... until now. He hardly left the bathroom and was violently sick. Long story short he was severely dehydrated from being so ill so the on site medical unit (which should of raised alarm bells), had to put him on a drip. Yep on a drip. I became so frightened at this point but unfortunately a day later I got struck down. Possibly thee most horrendous case of sickness and diarrhoea I have ever had in my life. I remember curling up in a ball on the tiled floor because my body was hot but I was shaking from being cold. 


Luckily I didn't need a drip. When we both began to feel human we were flying home, but by process of elimination we figured out the problems. We had been eating salads, and drinking from frozen cups. The salad will have obviously been washed in their water and the frozen cups (even though no ice) would of been frozen water essentially. That was the first alarm bell, but the second was a lamb kofta I had and something just didn't feel right about it so I only ate some. I cannot now eat lamb at all. Mine was food poisoning. 

I cannot even put into words how horrific this experience was. Ridiculous heat, lack of bottled water available, (baring in mind I would polish off about 2 litres every few hours when we would go to Spain and it's cooler there) and obviously under cooked food which I think was just bad luck. The Russians clearly had the right idea by eating everything beige and deep fried! 


I've also had altitude sickness as well but that is a whole other story - now I need to tell you how to avoid what we went through! 

Water - Oh my days do not under estimate the power of water! Think about what you are eating - is it washed in water? It's all good being healthy but as we discovered that isn't always a great idea. It will really depend on the country you are heading to. Seek out local shops as on all inclusive holidays you may not have access to lots of water as we discovered. Buy those huge bottles and set an aim to get through at least 1 (if not more) per day. 

Tummy tablets - I now will always take Pepto-bismol tablets wherever we go away. My Dad once got food poising when we were away in America and swore by the stuff. Luckily they don't just do the liquid version, there is also the tablets. Honestly you need these when you travel 

Paracetamol - This and ibuprofen can be a great way to bring your temperature down. I must admit I hate to gobble lots of tablets but seriously when you go away you need to do everything you can. Language barriers and the unknown is hideous to deal with. 

Hand sanitiser - Believe it or not in Egypt I religiously washed my hands with the stuff. Evidently that didn't help. Consider the transaction of exchanging money.... wasn't something I considered until we went to Egypt. 

Rehydration Salts - You will lose a lot of your essential nutrients when you basically... poo a lot. You have to replenish your body. 

Food - Last thing you often want is food but if you can't find the right items to ease your tummy, you'll be unhappy. BRAT -aka bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast. Basically anything simple and bland. My biggest suggestion is popping some plain crackers in your suitcase as a back up. I loved Ritz actually, because they were salty too. 

Baby wipes, Talc and Sudocrem - This is where we cross that line... a little more. All of these come in travel size but we all know too much loo can be you SO sore, to the point sitting, standing, doing anything can feel like hell. Go back to basics and think how a baby feels, get baby wipes to clear up the damage (also they are better for the bottom than scratchy loo paper), Sudocream it to stop the soreness then talc it finish off. This would be a ritual if I was poorly at home I'd be doing. 

Anti-sun - Obviously if you are ill don't go in the sun. We basically hid ourselves in the hotel room with the air con on. I'd strongly suggest making sure you have a cap on or head wear even if you aren't poorly as sunstroke can be a naughty terror too in making you unwell. Suncream is so important anyway, but getting burnt can trigger being poorly abroad. Know your limits and give yourself a sunshine breather. 

Hopefully this hasn't been too graphic but my goodness that trip to Egypt on paper was wonderful, but seriously the most horrific experience of my life. I remember after the 15th loo run in an hour staring into the bathroom mirror sobbing because I felt so poorly and sore. I never want to be in that situation again, and I hopefully have helped give you a little food for thought before you travel. I know it seems like an over cautious way to travel, but I'd rather be comfortable than not and unprepared. Don't forget all those items can come in travel sizes so you don't need to cart loads with you. 

Good luck in your travels and if you do get ill, hopefully you will be like a girl guide or a scout and be the most prepared you possibly can be. 
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23 comments

  1. I think its important to know these things when travelling and making sure u take tummy tablets and other medications just incase.

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  2. Ahhh, that experience in Egypt sounds so horrible. I wouldn't be able to eat lamb again either after that. I would not have thought about the frozen glasses or the salads being rinsed in water...I need to file that away in my head for any future holidays to areas where the water is undrinkable.

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  3. Oh my gosh! Fortunately I've never been in that situation, and I hope to never be! Thank you so much for your tips.

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  4. Great tips here. I have gotten parasites two times living in Ecuador. It is truly the worst. Luckily the doctors here know the signs and give you antibiotics right away. It is so important to use Hand sanitiser and drink lots of filtered/bottled water as well. Thank you for sharing this :D

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  5. My goodness hun so awful to hear about how bad you and your partners sickness was. Clean water can be so tricky to find I agree x

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  6. Sounds like you had a bad time :( Knew about bottled water, but never thought about salads etc...:) x

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  7. Oh no sounds like you had a horrendous experience! Luckily I've never been ill abroad but it does worry me x

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  8. Oh no! Sorry to hear your trip was ruined, great tips for future.

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  9. I have been traveling for 10 years and I did get sick a few times. I have learned to deal with it, be very careful on what I eat and drink and make sure that I have a first aid kit with me.

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  10. Ah I didn't think about what I was eating way back when I went to Egypt. I ate a salad that had been washed in water and was ill for days xx

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    1. I hadn't twigged either until it was too late! 🙈

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  11. I love the photos you have included in the post! I am so careful abroad when it comes to clean water. Sorry to hear your trip was ruined by sickness. Getting poorly abroad can be so scary. I once got an infected mosquito bite and the doctor on site at the hotel couldn't speak a word of English.

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  12. Being ill abroad is my worst nightmare! I had a bit of a dodgy tummy in Florida and was so worried I was going to have to find a pharmacy but luckily I'd taken tablets with me. At least they speak English there so it wouldn't have been too bad!

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  13. I've been ill once really badly when I travelled to Egypt and it totally ruined the holiday :( xxx

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  14. Feeling ill on holiday is the worst feeling! I got the flu when I visited America and spent most of the time in bed!

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  15. Oh no, sorry to hear you had such a bad time in such an amazing place! Great tips for getting back on your feet as quickly as possible.

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  16. Oh I'm so sad for you! How rubbish that you were poorly!

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  17. Paracetamol is like my best mate when I go on holiday haha. That and plasters!

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  18. I got sick when I took my daughter on holiday a for the first time a few years ago, totally whacked me out and put me out for 2 days. Soon as we got their I was eating everything, but as you said kee it simple with food for a bit.

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  19. Good post. I got poorly on holiday and it was the worse thing ever! :(

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  20. Ahhh must have been a bit of a nightmare for you!!

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  21. Ugh getting ill whilst you're away is the worst, spending the precious time, and money you've got travelling you don't want to be couped up in a room when you want to be seeing and doing things.
    We were given the tip to even when buying water buy fizzy water, as some countries are even known for refilling their plastic bottles and have a sneaky way to reseal them, but they can't recarbonate the drinks efficiently!

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