If you got sick on safari, do you know why?

Dec 5th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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If you got sick on safari, do you know why?

I am wondering if as a group we can informally see any patterns for things to avoid; eg., certain fruits, vegs., etc.? I hope it did not happen and if it did, my sympathies, but would like to know, nonetheless, if there are things I should think about that may not be obvious and that my doctor may not have mentioned.....
Jess215 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 12:01 PM
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Stay hydrated and don't drink beer that tastes bad.

OK, there are probably a number of good comebacks to that comment, but I am serious. Last trip to Tanzania I decided to have a sundowner (or two) on the drive back to the lodge after our game drive. We had been out all day and the drink box was only lukewarm, but the beers were still a little cold. I drank one and it just didn't taste right. I started on a second one, but the taste started to get so bad I had to stop.

In a couple of hours I started vomiting and developed diarrhea, after which I became seriously dehydrated and spent the next day in bed. We almost had to send me back to Dar es Salaam for an IV.

I would never have thought that beer could go bad to the point of making you sick, but I was told that the local beer in Tanzania is not made to the standards of most of the world and that this sort of thing can happen.

By all means don't stop drinking beer, but reach for another one if you think the one you have tastes suspicious.
sevendown is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 12:07 PM
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I think you will find that most people get sick towards the last few days of their stay.............I believe it has something to do with the notion of having to return to reality, leaving such an amazing surreal experience.

Apart from that, you should be fine. Any malaria, unless you are going for more than 2 weeks would be emerge upon your return home. So just take those tablets

Shumba is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 12:39 PM
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This is all anecdotal, of course. I've gotten terrible colds/flu in travel to the Caribbean, London, and Paris.

I was prepared when we went to South Africa with a veritable medicine cabinet plus cipro.

I never felt better on a trip than I did in South Africa. We ate and drank everything. Fruits and salad at every meal, and plenty of G & T's. Maybe it's the quinine!

Just use your good judgment, and eat at the lodges and places you trust, if you're worried about food. (I did avoid a cafeteria at the JNB airport after I saw a pigeon walking around. Don't know how they got past security . . . )


cw is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 12:57 PM
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Malaria meds are necessary, but can have some unpleasant side effects. Be sure and check the inserts that come with the meds. Two people in our group to Tanzania had significant side effects from Malarone (increasing nausea and dizziness) and were taken off the medication by doctors. Larium also has "black box"warnings.

Even if the food and drink is safe, it's "different" than what you've eaten at home and can cause some problems. As one guide told us, he came to the USA and got sick on the water. Cipro or a similar med usually knocks it out quickly.
ShayTay is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 01:13 PM
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I'm convinced it's the buffet food that gets me (or "got me" - two years in a row). I'm not on safari for the cuisine, so I don't need a five star dining experience, but better preparation and storage practices might help.

For example, we saw beef from dinner one night make an appearance on the buffet table on more than one occasion after that Always stick to whatever they are making fresh rather than what is in a chafing dish.
Toshi is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 01:15 PM
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Fortunate not to have ever had tummy problems regardless my travel destination. And, none in 13/years visiting Africa.

However, we're all different, and two people can eat the same food and only one gets ill. Beats me.

But, it doesn't always have to be the food. It can be the long flights, body adjusting to time changes, really... anything.

I don't even think about getting ill, but do travel with tummy meds including Cipro which technically should only be used for bacterial infection; drink bottled water; take the malaria meds with dairy at breakfast.

Fruits and veggies are fresh, often grown organically in camp gardens. The butcheries in Nairobi are excellent. Fish comes right from the sea almost daily.

Use your good judgement and if foods that are supposed to be cold or hot aren't, then don't let them pass your lips.

sandi is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 02:34 PM
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I second the Cipro recommendation, just in case.

I got sick with sore throat, cough, and fever when a boy in front of me on a flight from Joburg to Maun was coughing up a storm. I now carry a srugical mask with me. Who knows if that would have helped.
atravelynn is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 04:19 PM
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Actually I am taking Zithromax with me - since I am allergic to penicillin and derivatives, sulfa, and clyndamycin- nobody know how I'd do on Cipro!
Jess215 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 06:20 PM
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Hi Jess-

Your safari director will go through much of what you should and shouldn't do in order not to get sick, basically they tell you to take it easy on the fruits, veg & salads to begin with, until your system gets used to it.

Which safari are you on by the way? I am sure you have answered this many times for me, but my head is truly full & it keeps pushing stuff out of it!
LyndaS is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 07:53 PM
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Hi Lynda S - I am with Micato and I trust them; I also trust my travel doctor who comes well recommended, and I also know what keeps me generally healthy. The reason for my question is simply this: if anecdotally, we heard from a handful of people that they happened to react badly - and unexpectedly -- to something, it might be of some interest...that's all.
Jess215 is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 06:35 AM
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If you take doxycycline for malaria prophylaxis, make sure you follow the directions. Take it when your stomach is full, and don't take it just before you lay down. I ignored these directions and eventually had a horrible pain in my lower esophagus/stomach. Eating was terrible--when food passed to a certain spot in my stomach, I would get a sudden sharp pain. I could rarely finish meals. It took about a week to heal.
Gritty is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 06:39 AM
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Only time we both got sick is from drinking the tap water in Windhoek. Having had no problems with the tap water for the previous 8 weeks in South Africa/ Botswana we naively believed the response to our question about whether tap water in Windhoek was safe for visitors.

Of course, AFTERWARDS, everyone we spoke to told us of COURSE visitors should not drink Windhoek water and told us more than we ever wanted to know about the source and "purification" process.

Luckily, my parents prep me a really good medical kit with some strong antibiotics that fixed us both within a day so we didn't lose any game drive/ activities time on arrival at Wolwedans.
Kavey is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 06:43 AM
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Kavey--at the risk of hijacking this thread, do you remember the source of Windhoek's water? It's so dry there, I wonder where they get it. Just curious.
Gritty is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 06:49 AM
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I haven't been sick myself other than reacting badly to insect bidtes but I have seen quite a few people suffer badly from dehydration.

Lynneb is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 07:43 AM
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Hi Jess-

Oh no, I meant which specific trip were you on with Micato? (Stanley Wing? )

Now, I do have a bad memory sometimes, but not that bat!
LyndaS is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 07:47 AM
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Gritty, em I don't know where it comes from initially but... they recycle the water that goes through the, ahem, bathroom/ sewage systems... that's what we were told. Maybe they were joking but... I don't think so.
Kavey is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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Lynda S -Heart of K and T plus Zanzibar; January 14-28!.
Knock on wood, I've only been sick once on a trip, and that was this past September, when I got poisoned by my lunch at a resto across the street from Versailles.
Jess215 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 09:22 PM
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I think it was last year .... where i came down with a cold. It took me out the first three days or so and the cold weather didn't help during the morning drives. I think the circulating air in the airplane may have had something to do with it (don't know for sure)

But, i had some advils and things to help me out .....
HariS is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 06:51 AM
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Hari, I use Zicam (the one you spray in your mouth) when I feel a cold coming on and I believe it helps. I always take it with me on trips and I do think airplanes cause many people to get colds.

I did get sick in Kenya in January of this year (on the trip with Divewop). I felt like I had a very bad flu. A trip to a doctor in Nairobi determined that it was Tick Fever and a prescription of doxycyclene started clearing it up right away. I was still pretty weak for a few more days but I didn't feel horrible any more.

I haven't gotten sick from any food or water and I do eat/drink whatever is available/recommended. While on a mobile safari in July, I used bottled water to brush my teeth for the very first time (7th safari). On mobile safaris they carry all of the water you need with you. The staff pours hot water in your canvas wash basin morning, noon and night. The first couple of mornings I used water from the basin to rinse my mouth. Then, I was near the kitchen area and saw the water we were using in a white bowl. OMG, it was not clear. I was kind of worried that I had been rinsing with that and made sure to use bottled water from then on.
sundowner is offline  

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