The Many Sicknesses of Travel


Who doesn’t love getting sick on the road? Oh wait, nobody…

You can pretty much count on it happening at one point in your life (as it happened, thankfully, briefly even to yours truly), and when it does it will suck and ruin your time. I’ve even thought about making a bingo card up with all of the ailments on them because instead of being annoyed by it, I should be like ‘Sweet! When I get back from Phuket with a parasite, I’ll have got an X on my card!’ and enjoy all the perks that go along with that. I’m sure it will catch on.

But until I get the bingo card made, take a look at just some of the many fun-filled ailments you can be afflicted with while travelling, if for no other reason than to satisfy your curiosity and feel pride if you recognize one you’ve experienced. Or you know, if you’re weird, plan ahead to try and avoid… but who’s going to do that?

1. Travellers Diarrhoea 

This one is super annoying and embarrassing but is actually the least terrible one on the list, in my opinion. That’s because if you plan ahead by taking things like Dukoral or just avoid drinking unsafe water or things that may have come into contact with it, you will probably be okay. Even if you do get a case of it, there is a strong likelihood that it will only be a brief occurrence and won’t ruin your whole trip… so long as it doesn’t happen right in the middle of something super embarrassing.

The umbrella is your friend!

If you’re from a country that doesn’t get a lot of sun or just not that intense of heat, visiting some place near the tropics can be a particularly risky venture. Not only can it suck all the energy out of you but it can really ruin you for the rest of the trip. Combine this with a sweet lobster burn and you can be in significant pain for a very long time. Rub some aloe on, limit yourself to a moderate amount of time outside, toss on sunblock and stay hydrated (with bottled water) to avoid this as much as possible because you don’t want it turning into something more major like skin cancer.

3. Fungus

Nobody wants to have something growing on them – mushrooms belong on pizza, not your body. It’s really easy to pick up something nasty when you’re travelling and living in less than sanitary conditions, after all, who wants to be that person who complains about how dirty something is? Well, sometimes it helps to complain. Wet suits on a scuba trip on the Great Barrier Reef; not changing your socks after hiking through the Amazon – all of these are surefire ways to get something that you’ll need to put a cream and probably take pills for a while to get rid of – if you ever can.

4. Parasites 

Alongside fungus, parasites are worse because they are inside of you and can go relatively unknown until they get to a decent disgusting size. Getting these is usually done by eating or drinking something suspicious and often getting rid of them can only be done with medication during a certain point in the parasite’s lifecycle. I don’t think I need to say this, but I might as well – nothing is worth getting a parasite over. Nothing.

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