Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dan and Phill's excellent adventure

It happens to every traveler at some point. Its important to be prepared and eat as safely as you can when you're on the road. Bottled water, no run down restaurants or street vendors. In Cuba, its hot and refrigeration isn't always great. If you go often enough you're going to get hit with it. Always uncomfortable, if it does happen the best thing you can do is take an antibiotic like Cipro. You need a prescription for Cipro and I recommend you get one when travelling to Cuba, just in case. Pepto Bismal before meals might help. Dukurol is a good idea. 

Phill got hit with travellers diarrhea and had nothing but a few Pepto Bismal after the fact. After a few days we went to Clinica Central Cira Garcia in Miramar to get some antibiotics for him. We arrived and he was seen immediately. The staff and english speaking doctors were fantastic. His doctor said he was going to send him for a cholera test just to be safe. There had been a few cases in Cuba recently, the source being some Cuban aid workers who were in Haiti. The doctor said he'd send us in one of their ambulances so we didn't have to call a taxi. We both hopped in the back and after a bit, Phill said, 'well, I might as well have a lie down' and lay on the stretcher for the ride. We arrived at the hospital and Phill did his cholera test which of course was negative. He was given antibiotics and we followed the helpful administrator to her office where the bill was to be paid. $25 for the consultation, $2 for the cholera test and $3.30 for the antibiotics. I guess the ambulance ride was included in the consultation fee. All in all a surprisingly efficient experience.

Follow safe food and water practices:
  • Boil it, cook it, peel it or leave it!
  • Always wash your hands before eating and drinking.
  • Only eat food that has been well cooked and is still hot when served. Avoid uncooked foods, especially shellfish and salads.
  • Drink and use ice only from purified water that has been boiled or disinfected with chlorine or iodine, or commercially bottled water in sealed containers. Carbonated drinks, including beer, are usually safe.
  • Brush your teeth with purified or bottled water.
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products.
  • Avoid food from street vendors.
  • Avoid swimming, wading, bathing or washing clothing in polluted or contaminated water.

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