3. Montezuma's Revenge
In most cases, Montezuma's Revenge, or plain old traveler's diarrhea, is a bacterial infection that usually comes from eating or drinking something contaminated with E. coli. It's one of the most common travel illnesses in the world, affecting as many as 10 million people a year. Symptoms can range from very mild to severe diarrhea, vomiting, cramping and exhaustion, with dehyration being the most dangerous common side effect.
Go-to treatments like Pepto-Bismol can be helpful in soothing symptoms while the bacteria work their way out of your system. But if you're expecting to be out and about, i.e. not near a bathroom for a few hours, you're better off with something like Imodium to slow things down. Ask your physician about Cipro (a brand name for a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, which can also be found under the name Noroxin), which will actually combat the infection.
As always, the best medicine is prevention. Do what I do, which is to follow these simple steps when it comes to eating and drinking: boil it, cook it, peel it, bottle it or forget it.
Considered one of the more "exotic" travel illnesses, malaria is a serious disease and may be a deadly illness.
Bottom line, malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted from the bites of infected mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells. Symptoms include fever, headache and vomiting, and usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite. If not treated, malaria can quickly become life threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. In many parts of the world, the parasites have developed resistance to malaria medicines.
If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after returning home (for up to a year), seek immediate medical attention.
Prior to leaving for a country where malaria is endemic, have a talk with your doctor about preventative medicine. I've found that sometimes the drugs can cause worse side effects than the disease itself.
But the good news is there are other options out there, so never assume and always talk to an expert.
If you're not sure whether malaria is a problem in your destination, head to the World Health Organization site, and click on the "Malaria Map" application. Then just type in the name of the country you will be traveling to and it will tell you if there is a risk.
Also of interest: Protecting yourself against bedbugs.