In poorer areas, it’s likely that the overall health care system is outdated and the latest methods of cleanliness are not in place. The International Association of Medical Assistance to Travelers is a nonprofit organization that can refer you to English-speaking, Western-trained doctors. In addition, they advise travelers on health risks and immunization requirements, as well as the sanitary conditions of water, milk, and food around the world. If you do not have a life-threatening condition, don’t dismiss doctors who practice age-old medicine such as ayurvedic (practiced in India for thousands of years) or herbal treatments. These won’t mend your broken arm, but you could get rid of that nasty cold or stomach flu by relying on the wisdom of these highly trained (and often inexpensive) practitioners. In the tropics, keep a close watch on any skin problems such as bug bites, scratches, and skin irritations. It’s easy for these to become infected due to dirty ocean, pool, river, or tap water.
To avoid infections, keep these covered with a bandage or simply stay out of the water. The upside to getting ill in another country is that it will provide you with an opportunity to experience the hospitality of the locals. When Sarah was trekking on the Annapurna loop in Nepal, she got giardia from dirty drinking water. She was forced to abandon the trek, and returned to her starting point in Pokara, where the proprietor of her guest house watched over her and helped her through the illness for two weeks. But this don