Planning a gap year?


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But feeling a little daunted?

Not sure which way to turn?

Wondering where you'll end up

And what might happen along the way?

Fear not!!

We have loads of tips and advice to share with you

From our own amazing Family Gap Year!

Diarrhoea - and Family Gap Year Travel

"Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it won't get you anywhere." Van Wilder


Travelling on gap year with your kids - it sounds so romantic and exciting. But I will understand 100% the parent who, before they leave, lies awake at night, scared to death at the thought of what they might be inflicting on their children. Every fear will cross their minds.

Furthermore, the more obscure the place they visit, the more scary the envisioned dangers. The countries I chose to visit were not third world countries for the most part so I didn't have to be paranoid about a lot of things.

In Africa and parts of Asia, of course things were different and I had to be aware of Diarrhea and dehydration which so often go hand in hand.

There are number of ways to minimise the risk of a bout of Diarrhoea, so common to travellers roughing it or travelling to parts of the world where health and hygiene and food safety are simply not a feature.

I was told firmly to remember the following:

  • boil it
  • peel it
  • cook it
  • or don't eat it


Danger areas (This mainly applies to developing countries but it's sensible to think about the following where ever you are)

Salads, since salad ingredients are often grown close to the ground and may be contaminated. Equally they may have been washed in contaminated water.

Unwashed vegetables, unless they can be peeled.

Avoid food that has been kept warm for a while. For example Buffet foods.

Any food that has been in contact with flies. (Yeah right, flies were a blight in Australia and Africa)

Be wary of ice unless you are sure it was made from treated or chlorinated water


Milk and milk products.

Avoid ice cream from disreputable sources. These include portable ice cream sellers who may not have adequate refrigeration and ice cream that may have melted and been refrozen

Be careful with fish and shellfish – particularly uncooked fish

Food from street vendors unless it is cooked in front of the you, as in wok-fried food in Asian food markets.

Got it...


Unfortunately, once you've got food poisoning there is little you can do except let it run its course. The most important thing is not to get dehydrated. Drink plenty of water - little and often. It's often a good idea to use rehydration salts for children to ensure that they keep their fluid levels high.

Blockage tablets don't necessarily solve the problem of diarrhea. The body needs to rid itself of the toxins so, unless it is absolutely vital, it's best to try and take as few tablets as possible.

Be aware that incubation times vary between the different forms so it may not necessarily be the food you ate the night before.

Dysentery

The worst form of infective diarrhea is dysentery, in which there is also fever, and blood and slime in the motions. There are two distinct types of dysentery: one due to infection with a group of bacteria known as shigella, and the other due to a single-celled organism known as entamoeba.

Coke

Thankfully we were barely afflicted with this travellers nightmare but I took Imodium with us and when afflicted I gave the children flat coke. This was a trick learnt from bush clinics in South Africa.

Feeding infants and small children, dehydrated and ill from diarrhoea, Coke, had saved many little lives. I don’t know why it helps and am certainly no doctor but it was wonderful for my kids as, although it wasn’t a cure all, it did help from the point of view that the diarrhoea faded and the liquid rehydrated them and the sugar helped with their energy levels.
Essential that the coke is Coke ‘Classic’.

At the risk of being sued for giving wrong info here I must make it clear that while this helped my children and many many others without access to clean drinking water with Electrolytes, feeding your child flat coke is done so at your own risk.

Disclaimer


The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. The site owner makes no representation or warranty regarding the accuracy, reliability, completeness, currentness, or timeliness of the content, text or graphics. Links to other sites are provided for information only - they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites which may contain additional information about the symptoms of dehydration or dehydration pictures.

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