Traveler’s diarrhea — you know how it goes. All of a sudden, you’re ziplining in Thailand, having completed 30 runs with 28 more to go, and, for lack of a better term, shit hits the fan. Your mind jumps back to that shrimp spring roll you got from a street vendor in Bangkok. Or maybe that iced coffee you washed the spring roll down with. Or maybe your body is a sadistic asshole who’s been plotting its revenge ever since Taco Tequila Tuesday of ‘08.
But if (and when) you do find yourself with the shits in the middle of an activity somewhere in the world, the best advice we can give is to keep calm, stay hydrated, don’t look anyone in the eyes, and never trust a fart. However, let’s just skip the whole shebang altogether, yeah? Here are some tips on how to prevent the dreaded and infamous traveler’s woe from turning one of your travel days into complete and total shit.
Stock up on supplies for when you cave and eat that shrimp spring roll anyway.
Oral rehydration salts are a must-have, which you can find at pretty much anywhere selling travel, outdoor, and pharmaceutical supplies. Run out during your trip because you just couldn’t stop buying shrimp from street vendors? Find an energy drink loaded with electrolytes. Can’t find that? Plop a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of sugar in a cup of purified water.
I know you, as well as I and the rest of humanity, don’t want to support a product with such an obnoxious jingle, but Pepto-Bismol is a good option for when you want to calm your stomach down. Imodium AD is another good one, especially for those times when you get the shits ziplining through a jungle. Just be warned — it simply stores all that nastiness in your gut, all of which has to come out sooner or later. Let’s just pray for later.
Prescribed Ciprofloxacin as an antibiotic? Get ready for total gut annihilation.
You are what you eat.
Fruit? Don’t eat unless it’s unpeeled. Vegetable? Don’t eat unless it’s cooked. Avoid lukewarm foods like you’d avoid lukewarm anything because let’s be real, the word lukewarm is gross. Water? Make sure it’s bottled. Ice? Hell no.
Know what to do when disaster strikes.
Shitting blood? Get your ass to the clinic or start popping antibiotics pronto. However, if you think you’re in just for a rough time, start hydrating yourself immediately. Don’t eat for a day -- trust me on this one. And when you do start eating, eat only BRAT foods (bananas, rice, unsweetened applesauce, and toast). Get to know your nearby bathroom very well , even if that means you may not be getting laid that night at your hostel after all. Have an unfortunate flight, bus, train, or ferry to catch the next day? Break out the Pepto-Bismol and Imodium. Still a problem after two days? Pop an antibiotic. Still not working? It’s time for the clinic.
Closing thoughts? Just put the shrimp spring roll and iced coffee down. Happy (and comfortable) travels!