Well, here it is. The official list of a thousand ways to get sick and die in a third world foreign country. First off I found this little tit bit of interest.
It is not unusual for many travelers to incur mild stomach upsets or even diarrhea. The latter condition tends to diminish as immunity levels are built up and the stomach becomes accustomed to its new diet, in any case drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration such as mineral water and soft drinks, avoid milk and caffeine beverages as well as ice in your drinks if possible.
What? No coffee. Eeek. How will I survive?
Exposure to health risks will vary climatically as well as within Ecuador wildlife and vegetation. For example the lowland tropical provinces house different health hazards in comparison to the high land areas, where the main risks will be more related to water, food or altitude sickness.Never eat from street vendors stalls due to contamination of the handlers or street pollution from passing vehicles or drink the local water unless you have purification tablets, preferably iodine based.Use bottled water when possible as the iodine taste can be overpowering. Also, always wash and clean fruits thoroughly before eating as well as your washing and drying your hands on clean hand towels or paper tissues.
I guess street meat is off the list of things to try!
Buy filtered or bottled water only in Ecuador as it is not safe to drink the local water. If you have to drink the water, boil it first and use also for washing vegetables and fruits if no filtered water is unavailable. Water-purifying tablets are not recommended as the hepatitis virus may remain. If you do buy tablets at least ensure they have iodine solution in them, 4 drops can make a liter of water. Also, avoid iced drinks if possible as this is a further risk to catching disease.
O.K., Don’t drink the water. I get it!
The major vaccinations recommended for Latin America travel to combat diseases are as follows: Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Malaria, Tetanus, Poliomyelitis, Infectious Hepatitis, & Rabies in the Oriente and jungle areas or other epidemics that may have recently sprung up such as Meningitis
I’m covered on most of these except Rabies. I just have to beware of rabid bats in the jungle!
Intestinal worms are frequent in the system when eating foods in other countries, yogurt has live bio-cultures in its make up and is a recommended food to help clear these parasites. The hookworm condition can be caught by not wearing sandals or flip flops on beaches and infested terrain so make sure you don’t allow these worms to enmesh and bury themselves into your feet by wearing at least minimum foot protection.
Intestinal worms? Ewww… No thank you. Don’t want those. I’ll have to eat lots of yogurt and wear shoes all the time.
Leptospirosis occurs through bacteria’s in the urine of rodents. Be careful if you have suffered any new cuts or scratches. Exposure occurs through either fresh water or moist earth contact.
I hope I don’t end up in a leper colonie for the rest of my life. Do they still have those?
Dengue Fever. There is no remedy for this fever but the same procedures for protection as explained under the malaria section apply as this is also carried by Mosquitos, the specific variety is known as Aedes aegypti. Although it is not common in Ecuador (Esmeraldas was the only Province with outbreaks) and totals only 3% In Latin America of the worlds total area, if you catch the fever it may take a full month to recover although signs of recovery are often made after a few days. The main symptoms are body pains through muscular swelling and high temperatures which may be accompanied by pink rashes which spreads to the facial areas. Take plenty of rest and pain killers when appropriate if you catch this disease.
I’ll just have to not get bitten. I’ll be the guy walking through the jungle with a mosquito net suit and a suit case full of bug spray.
All in all I have done my homework and feel that I am prepared for the adventure of a life time. So stay tuned it’s going to be a fun ride.
The adventure begins in 13 days!