It’s the getaway you’ve looked forward to all year—an adventure to some exotic location—warm weather, sunshine, a change of scenery with maybe a palm tree or two. But, what you’re probably not expecting is the possibility of a parasitic infection that can leave you with a spoiled trip and an ensuing health problem that stays with you long after the memories of your vacation have faded away.
And, it’s more common than you’d think — a study in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene found that one in three Americans’ stool samples tested positive for parasites.
Yet with just a small dose of enlightened planning and practical understanding of what the challenges are in unfamiliar territory, you can still have a wonderful time, remain healthy and return home safe and sound. You just have to be prepared—more so now than ever before—to protect and defend yourself against these toxic invaders.
Follow these simple tips for your passport to parasite-proof travel:
1. Don’t go barefoot. Found worldwide in the soil of warm, moist tropical areas, hookworm larvae enter the body by penetrating the skin, most often through the foot, before traveling through the bloodstream, into the respiratory system to the throat where they are digested and attach themselves to the intestines. One case in particular that comes to mind is that of a young man who experienced severe mental instability after a trip to Africa. Twenty to thirty stool samples later, it was confirmed that hookworm (contracted while barefoot) was the cause!
2. Skip the salad bar. Especially when you’re traveling in a relatively undeveloped country, don’t eat fruit and vegetables that are not extremely well cooked. Don’t touch raw salads, no matter how well washed. Serve-yourself salad and food bars, in any country, are just colorful buffets of bacteria where the food sits out for hours, touched by countless other people.
3. Avoid sushi. Never, I repeat never, eat raw or undercooked fish or meat when traveling abroad or in areas where the food is likely to be infected. No matter how reliable the source seems to be, it is often seething with pathogens and parasites that can infect your digestive tract.
4. Play it safe with salsa. Preparation and handling are key when it comes to “safe” salsa. Look for salsa that’s been cooked instead of made of raw ingredients (see tip #2). It should also be kept at the proper temperature on ice. Leaving food out too long at room temperature can cause nasty bacteria like Staph, Salmonella and E. coli to grow to dangerous levels.
5. Keep your hands clean. Always wash your hands thoroughly before handling food or eating, using the bathroom, changing diapers, or touching animals. If you can’t wash your hands easily, stash a small travel-size bottle of antiseptic hand gel in your pocket or purse. Because parasites (and their eggs) can hitchhike under your fingernails, keep your nails short and use a nail brush daily.
6. Drink with caution. Also, always drink filtered water. It takes a fine-pore filter of no more than 3 microns to block cysts from unwanted microorganisms like giardia. Never drink from streams or natural water sources without filtration, and pack a portable travel filter whenever possible.
Your First Line of Defense
You can really put your mind and body at ease by being proactive and using My Colon Cleansing Kit. This thirty-day program provides advanced, safe, and gentle colon cleansing, while targeting accumulated waste, microorganisms, and toxins you may encounter in your travels.
It includes three time-tested and unique herbal products designed to help eliminate parasites while recolonizing your system with friendly probiotics to promote a clean colon that’s inhospitable to pathogenic organisms. It includes Para-Key, Verma-Plus, and Flora-Key.
I would begin the program at least 5 days before your designated trip and continue throughout, or at least begin when you return home for a grand total of thirty days. If you still have unresolved symptoms from minor to major GI distress, diarrhea, constipation, and/or allergies, cough, wheezing, and increased mucus then you may want to consider completing another course of treatment.
If you’ve returned from an exotic vacation within the last few months and just haven’t been feeling quite right, parasites may be a likely culprit. Watch this video to learn more.
A correct diagnosis can take some effort since many health care practitioners in this country aren’t trained in parasitology. If you or anyone in your family shows signs of parasites, you may want to test at home with the Parasite Flexi-Test. Just call 800-888-4353 to speak with a knowledgeable staff member.
For more tips on parasite prevention, testing and treatment, check out my book Guess What Came to Dinner? Parasites and Your Health.