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Traveler’s Diarrhea: The Basics

This is a guest post by Dr. Erik McLaughlin.

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Traveler’s Diarrhea: The Basics

Known around the world by many names including “Montezuma’s revenge,” “Delhi belly” and “mummy tummy,” traveler’s diarrhea (TD) is the most common illness faced by travelers. Nothing can slow down a fun trip as easily as TD — and it can also have serious health implications. TD typically lasts four to six days, and 90 percent of cases occur within the first two weeks of travel.

Anatomy You Need to Know

The gastrointestinal tract starts at the mouth and ends at the anus. After food enters the mouth, it passes through the esophagus to the stomach, where it sits for approximately 45 minutes. After being broken down by gastric secretions, food matter enters the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum in order). The small intestine is the site where most nutrients are absorbed by the body. From the small intestine, food matter begins to look more like feces as it progresses to the large intestine or colon. The colon absorbs water from the food material before the material passes through the anus and exits the body as feces.

Symptoms

Recognizing the warning signs of TD, such as blood in the stool, fever, or abdominal cramping, can help a savvy traveler know when to seek medical help.

TD has many definitions; the presence of three or more loose-formed stools in one day is a good one. Abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting and fever may also occur. The presence of blood in the stool can indicate that infection has directly damaged the intestinal wall and should be taken seriously. Read more »

This post, Traveler’s Diarrhea: The Basics, was originally published on Healthine.com by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

An iPhone App With “Skinsight”

photo 5.PNGBedbugs are back. For many people, this is only slightly curious, since their understanding of bedbugs stops at the second half of the bedtime admonition: “Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” But, for those others who have experienced a home bedbug infestation, it is a modern nightmare.

The tiny critters can hide in any furniture crevice or fabric fold and come out only in the wee hours of the night in search of their favorite food: human blood. Their bites cause intense itching which can last days to weeks and they can remain dormant and hide for months.

The cause of the recent resurgence is unknown. It does not seem to be paying any great regard to socioeconomic status nor to cleanliness. In metropolitan New York, it seems to have caused a minor panic, with families having to temporarily move out of their homes for toxic fumigation and thousands of dollars of clothes and artifacts being disposed of for fear of contamination. For a chilling recounting, check out this article in the UK Guardian: “How bedbugs invaded New York.”

Since so many skin afflictions are related to insect bites, the folks at Logical Images have just released Bedbugs ‘n Things, an iPhone app that describes the most common perpetrators of insect bites, identification by the appearance of the bite marks and recommended treatment. For bedbugs in particular, it goes further and gives a thorough set of guidelines for concerned traveler so they avoid bringing home uninvited travelers inside their luggage or clothes. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

UTI and “Eat, Pray, Love”

Eat, Pray, LoveI really didn’t expect to like Eat, Pray, Love. In fact, since its publication in 2006, I’d been avoiding it like the plague. “Typical new-agey, Oprah-y, girly-book,” I thought. Nothing in it to speak to me.

Then I saw the trailer for the movie, and I was hooked –- probably because I, like mostly everyone, love Julia Roberts. I immediately downloaded the book on my iPhone using the Kindle App and began to read.

First, let me say that Elizabeth Gilbert writes exceptionally well, and the book is actually a joy to read. I, of course, loved the Italy eating part. But more surprising to me, I wasn’t turned off by the whole yoga, Guru, find-yourself stuff. This is because Gilbert writes it all with a reporter’s curiosity and a skeptic’s eye, and frames it not as a belief system, but as a tool for self-discovery and peace. (Plus, I’m really good at skimming if I get bored.)

Too bad Gilbert’s curiosity and skepticism does not extend to the healthcare she receives while in Bali. She accepts the curative powers of a warm leaf placed on an oozing, infected cut without even wondering what leaf it might be or how it might have worked. Was it the heat (most likely) or something else (possibly)? I was dying to know.

She Xeroxes pages and pages of traditional medical treatments without sharing a single one with us in any meaningful way. While I’m pretty sure 99 percent of what was in there was bunk, there might be a few gems that would serve medical science. Unless Lizzie made a second copy, we’ll never know, will we?

But it was the UTI that really got to me. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at tbtam*

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