(Page last updated 09/16/2002)
First, a disclaimer. I am not a physician and do not give medical advise to others. I have traveled enough, however, to have face many health-related situations. These are merely a report of what I have learned. Take whatever portion of the counsel seems appropriate, and ask your physician for any recommendations.
Water: It is important for every guest to assume that tap water is not potable. Only drink purified water. Bottled drinking water can be purchased in most countries. Some may want to purchase a hand-held water-purification system at your local camping store to purify tap water.
Food that is cooked or peeled is normally safe. Beware of salads and ice in your drinks.
Gastro-intestinal disorder is still likely in spite of one being careful. What should you do when it hits. Anticipate this before leaving and consult with your physician and bring the medication he/she recommends. I will tell you what my physicians have prescribed for me and what I have done.
I know from experience it is easier (and MUCH more comfortable) to stop the gastro-intestinal problem before it becomes disrupting to my work. So, as soon as I feel "trouble" is coming, before it becomes distracting or disruptive, I take one or more of the following medications: a) Imodium (treats the symptoms, but provides welcome relief), and/or b) one of two antibiotics prescribed by my physician: Cipro (one 500 mg. pill in the morning and the other in the evening), or Avelox (one 400 mg pill per day).
PLEASE, don't go on a trip without bringing Imodium AND either of these antibiotics with you! If you don't the probability is VERY high that you will wish you had. So, consult your physician before you leave on your trip and secure such medication as he/she recommends. You should be aware that in many countries it is possible to buy the Cipro (under another name) locally and without a prescription.
Be sure to read the information provided on this website regarding inoculations and malarial prophylactics.
Additional Information: For additional information on health matters in each country go to the Internet site named www.tripprep.com and read the voluminous data they provide.