Active Lifestyle Travel Podcast Ep 004 Travel Injuries and Illness Tips

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Season 1

The Active Lifestyle Travel Podcast

Episode 004 Travel Injuries and Illness Tips

Show Notes:

Jaynie: In this episode, we will discuss different travel injuries and illness tips and situations you may encounter while traveling. We will talk about each situation and determine the best way to handle something like it in the future. It’s a learning experience for everyone.

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Scott: Let’s start with the least serious of our stories today. And I believe it begins with you Jaynie. This one is about an injury.

Jaynie: While on a trip to Mexico, Scott and I and our friends rented scooters and rode around the island of Isla Mujares, just off the coast of Cancun, Mexico.

Scott: We stopped to take pictures at a picturesque beach.

Jaynie: As I climbed off the scooter, my calf touched the exhaust pipe. I yelled in pain and shock.

Scott: That’s when I noticed the protective cover was missing from the exhaust pipe.

Jaynie: Quickly, I had a round swollen, red sore about three inches around. It hurt so bad, but we were in the middle of nowhere so I soaked it in the ocean.

Scott: That was a mistake. We probably should have left the group and gone to TIP: find ice or some kind of first aid.

Jaynie: Later, after taking the ferry back to Cancun, and a bus down south to Playa del Carmen, we arrived at our hotel.

Scott: By then, her leg was so red and the sore had opened up.

Jaynie: I asked for bandages at our hotel reception desk and they brought out a sweet man. He cleaned my wound and applied ointment to the burn. Then he gave me the ointment to keep it covered with as well.

Scott: We thought it was so nice of him, TIP: but really we should have gone to a doctor to have it evaluated. Then she would have received proper aftercare instructions to avoid any issues with it healing.

Jaynie: We still had five days left in Mexico, and I wasn’t’ going to let an oozing burn on my leg slow me down. I swam in the pool every day and thought the ocean water was good for healing.

Scott: We even rented quads and went f-wheeling in the jungle!

Jaynie: In hindsight years later, after working in Dermatology, I learned how lucky I was not to get a serious infection.

Scott: Yes, you could have got sepsis, they say once you break the barrier of skin it’s open to all sorts of microbes.

Jaynie: TIP: Now we know to get immediate medical treatment, to protect the wound and avoid pools and ocean.

Scott: Now I think it’s time to talk about another travel-related issue. This one involves illness and getting proper vaccinations.

Jaynie: It’s also about using good judgment when looking at your surroundings.

Scott: Back we go to Mexico. Imagine a small bay with moderate waves, perfect for someone who only surfs a few times a year.

Jaynie: Scott was all alone surfing, and I sat on the patio of a beach bar watching.

Scott: I really didn’t think much of the muddy brown ocean water in the bay. I thought maybe it was from the rain the night before.

Jaynie: Fast forward a few weeks after we are back home, Scott is so sick!

Scott: I was exhausted, I couldn’t even keep my eyes open.

Jaynie: You had a low-grade fever, joint pain, but worst of all, your eyes were so yellow!

Scott: Jaynie thought maybe I had Malaria. Finally, after I couldn’t keep my eyes open at work, I even had to get a ride home from a job I was on because I was too tired to drive. I went to the doctor.

Jaynie: After running tests, I think it was a urinalysis which determined it, he was diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

Scott: It’s contagious and transmitted by contamination of food and water.

Jaynie: We deduced he got it from swimming in the muddy ocean, which had a river inlet, and maybe pollution had run down the river into the bay. Yuck.

Scott: Hepatitis A infects the liver which is why my eyes turned yellow.

Jaynie: It lasts for a month or two, and can last for as long as six. He wasn’t allowed to drink alcohol all summer.

Scott: You were happy to have a designated driver.

Jaynie: haha

Scott: We should have had the Hep A vaccination prior to our travels. Jaynie got her vaccination right away.

Jaynie: Once you get Hep A, you can’t get it again.

Scott: That was a huge lesson for Jaynie and I. TIP: It’s important to see which vaccinations you need for where you are going. And allow proper time to get them in case they are a series.

Jaynie: Last but not least we are going to discuss mosquito-born illness. A few years back I had heard there was a mosquito-borne illness going around the Caribbean and Central America.

Scott: Mosquito-born means the virus can be transmitted through the bite of a mosquito.

Jaynie: Some of these viruses are; Dengue, Malaria, Chikungunya and Yellow Fever.

Scott: Jaynie tends to be the one who gets eaten alive by insects, but we discussed making sure we used plenty of mosquito repellant before our trip to El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Jaynie: We spent some time in El Salvador, hiking the Santa Ana Volcano and stayed in small towns.

Scott: We stayed at a small guest house where the owner had two teenage boys. We spent time with the families and really enjoyed them.

Jaynie: On the morning we left, one of the sons didn’t come out to say good-bye. His dad told us he was in bed sick. (Alarm bells!)

Scott: About six days later, we were on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. We were staying a couple of days at a beautiful bay called Playa Marsella. Having rented paddle boards and a kayak we were relaxing and having a good time.

Jaynie: At the end of the second day, Scott thought he broke his toe while paddle boarding. He switched to the kayak. When he came back to the beach he said his arms and wrists were killing him and he was exhausted. We laughed about him getting old. After dinner, he wanted to lie down and wasn’t feeling well. He was burning up with fever. I gave him a couple of Ibuprofen and he slept for the next ten hours. He woke up in the morning with no fever but awful body and joint aches. We wondered if he had caught what the boy had back in El Salvador. I did some research online. I was suspicious that it could be the Chikungunya Virus. Scott didn’t remember being bitten by a mosquito, which is how it’s transmitted. We had been so diligent with our mosquito repellent, reapplying a couple times a day.

Scott: By mid-morning, I was feeling well enough to leave our hotel and move down the coast to San Juan del Sur. We had a taxi drop us off and we set out to find a place to stay. After a thirty minute walk, we found the H.C Liri Hotel at the north end of the beach. With one room available we were lucky and we left our things and went out for lunch. We were able to share a huge plate of shrimp nachos.

Jaynie: But I knew he wasn’t feeling 100% because he didn’t drink a beer!

Jaynie: By the time we got back to our hotel, he was burning up with fever again. He also had red spots all over his torso. I thought they were hives and gave him an antihistamine. He slept the afternoon away and woke in time for dinner. The fever seemed to be coming and going. I tried not to give him Ibuprofen unless he really needed it so this virus could run its course.

Scott: The next morning I felt better, except for the painful joints.

Jaynie: The rest of the trip, he slowly improved, we rode scooters on Ometepe Island, went horseback riding on Big Corn Island and only the joint pain remained.

Scott: I figured I had a virus from the boy at our first lodgings in El Salvador.

Scott: After returning home to California, I was having aches in my joints and it was making it difficult to work. My wrist was in terrible pain from a flare-up of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. It was keeping me awake at night.

Jaynie: We were both concerned that he may have contracted the Chikungunya Virus. He was having textbook symptoms; body aches, joint pain, and lethargy. After two weeks it was taking an emotional toll. Scott was getting depressed thinking he would need surgery for Carpel Tunnel. He felt unsure of his future if he was having such joint pain, how could he go on with his work? He climbed ladders every day while installing heating and air conditioning systems and sheet metal. It’s a very physical job.

Scott decided to try Acupuncture. He thought this may help the pain in his wrist and joints. He was getting desperate, enough to pay to have needles put into his skin! There was some relief after several sessions to reduce the inflammation.

Scott: Finally, we decided we would go to the doctor and see if I could get some advice on the wrist pain. It was time to get tested for the Chikungunya Virus, which could be the cause of all the problems.

Jaynie: Scott got in to see the Physician’s Assistant at our doctor’s office. Scott told him about the pain in his wrist. I explained about our trip, the exposure to the sick boy and my concern that it may be the Chikungunya Virus. The P.A. looked up the virus, disregarded it, and proceeded to discuss options for Scott’s wrist/arm/hand pain. I was a bit frustrated at this point but sat patiently as they discussed possible surgery if anti-inflammatories didn’t help. At the end of the visit, the P.A. said he had decided to send Scott to the lab for some blood work to test for the Chikungunya antibody.

Jaynie: Several days later he (the P.A.) called and Scott put him on speaker phone. Scott had tested positive for the Chikungunya Virus! The P.A. was so surprised and said it was the first case in our County. The joint pain associated with the virus can last up to a year. He said the Carpel Tunnel was probably flaring up because of arthritis in Scott’s joints from the virus. Surgery was not an option, once the virus is gone, his joints and arm should be back to normal.

Scott was so relieved to know the exact cause of his problems. We knew it might take time, but he will get better.

Scott: Ten weeks later, I was feeling much better, although one ankle was giving me trouble.

Jaynie: Eventually, he was back to normal and we were so glad it didn’t take a year!

Scott: Tip: Go with your gut, don’t wait too long to see a doctor. Sometimes it can give you peace of mind if nothing else.

Jaynie: Thank you for listening today, we hope that through our mistakes and experience we can help you travel smarter.

If you have any travel injuries and illness tips please send us an email, thank you. backpackingdetours@gmail.com

To read the full post about our Chikungunya experience please click here.

Travel Injuries and Illness Tips

7 episodes available. A new episode about every 3 days averaging 10 mins duration .