There is nothing worse that having our summer travels interrupted by a serious illness. In warmer climates, we particularly need to be cautious of mosquito borne illnesses, “tourista,” and Pool Parasites. Dr. Brent W. Laartz, an infectious disease specialist and author of the book How to Avoid Contagious Diseases, explains, “While on vacation it becomes entirely necessary to be more observant of the conditions that are in place that could harm you.” Dr. Laartz offers Undercover Agents tips on how to protect ourselves during our summer travels.
• 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.
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