I wish that I could rely on my doctor to make sure that I have all the medications I might need while traveling in developing countries, but I can’t. Even if my doctor prescribes medications to deal with a nasty case of typhoid, for example, it’s possible that the prescription will kill me if the disease doesn’t. Prescription medications aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, unfortunately and patients need to beware and read all the fine print.
Though there are situations warranting the use of prescription meds, the fact is, the more people use these prescription medications, the more resistant bacteria become to them. Pharmaceutical companies are in a race to keep up with this problem, but they’re also in a race to keep the public under-informed about the value of herbal or alternative medications when treating or preventing certain diseases like typhoid.
Typhoid fever or enteric fever is a disease that’s common throughout the world. It occurs when someone ingests food or water that’s been contaminated with the feces of a person infected with Salmonella typhi. With the use of sanitation techniques, Typhoid fever has become less prevalent but in countries like India, people are 18 times more likely to contract the disease. For travelers to India, preventing Typhoid is extremely important. Typhoid fever can totally ruin a vacation.
There is an oral typhoid vaccine that’s a must for anyone traveling abroad. The vaccine doesn’t always work though. Only about 50% to 80% of the people who receive the vaccine are protected. So even though my husband and daughter have been vaccinated, the odds are decent that if we eat something contaminated with Salmonella typhi that one of us will end up getting sick. Thus, I’ve been compelled to look up ways to prevent Typhoid fever using herbs.
When traveling to developing countries, taking 3 drops of grapefruit seed extract per day doesn’t hurt anything and may be able to prevent the development of typhoid fever. Of course, it’s wise to get vaccinated before traveling as well, but carrying grapefruit seed extract is easy and a little goes a long way. Some people claim that a dose of 3 to 15 drops of grapefruit seed extract can help prevent the onset of a stomach upset if they feel something coming on. The extract is bitter and bitter things have a tonic effect on the digestive system. It’s worth a try if you have grapefruit seed extract available overseas.
Though I always carry antibiotics to treat our family if someone falls ill, I also carry Artemesia annua or sweet wormwood because this herb has a variety of uses in a pinch. Some sources recommend using it at the first sign of malaria or dengue. If you’re not sure what’s causing a digestive upset that involves vomiting and diarrhea, it wouldn’t hurt to do a grapefruit seed extract and wormwood combination treatment (though I wouldn’t use both at the same time on someone who is vomiting). You have to be careful with wormwood because if taken in large enough doses or over a long enough period of time, it can become toxic, but it too, is remarkably bitter offering tonic benefits to the digestive system while killing off things like worms in the intestinal tract.
As long as patients are kept hydrated, they won’t usually die from typhoid, but they might wish they were dead if they don’t receive treatment within a reasonable period of time. If left untreated, typhoid can last for up to a month and the case fatality rate rises from 1% to 30% the longer the disease goes untreated. Fluoroquinolones are typically used to treat the disease pharmaceutically. Ciprofloxacin or third generation cephalosporins such as ceftriaxone, cefotaxime, or cefixime are generally the most effective, however trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim) or amoxicillin may also be used. Get a prescription for these meds before you leave and keep them on hand during your travels. Bactrim also works on other intestinal problems like Cyclosporiasis which causes similar symptoms.
Remember, there are a variety of illnesses that can cause a high fever, vomiting, and diarrhea while traveling. It’s usually best NOT to try to stop the process of purging once it starts. This is your body’s way of trying to eliminate the offending organism or pathogen. But ,if you’re in a situation where there are no antibiotics available and there is no way to find out what you’ve been infected with, you might try sending for local herbal remedies while you keep yourself hydrated. In the meantime, one of the best anti-diarrhea remedies out there is just simple black tea. And ginger will encourage your stomach contents to empty into your intestines to help slow vomiting.