If you plan on traveling while sick with food poisoning – I have good news and bad news. The good news is it’s possible and I’ve done it. The bad news is it’s going to be a test of physical/mental strength and stamina. The weak won’t survive. Only with fierce determination and courage can it be done. After traveling a total of 24+ hours and flying on a plane, I have discovered tips and tricks for dealing with food poisoning while traveling.
The Pre-cursor to Food Poisoning
Within the last 10 days I have traveled from New York City to Dubai. My journey there was delightful. I leisurely passed my time reading hundreds of pages, typing on my laptop, and enjoying movies. I treated myself to a few glasses of red wine, ate the delicious airplane food, and slept soundly. Before I knew it, I was safely in the Middle East.
It was the holiday of Diwali and all of the buildings were fluorescently lit up and twinkling. I had never seen a city filled with so much color. I was jazzed to be here.
A few days into my trip, myself and another buddy hopped on another 5-hour flight to Istanbul, Turkey. Although less modern than Dubai, I felt comfortable eating from street vendors and didn’t think twice about it. I enjoyed delicious chicken sharma and doner – as well as plenty of shisha and Turkish coffee. I was in food paradise.
A few days later I was back in the United Arab Emerites participating in a legendary activity. For years, friends and colleagues would rave about “Brunch in Dubai”. Mountains of food and an endless supply of alcohol are provided and it’s a perfect place to chop it up with friends. I was eating handfuls of calamari, smoked salmon, beef, chicken, everything that was in front of me.
I was happy as a clam.
The night before my flight home was spent curled in bed with crippling stomach cramps and frequent vomiting. To make matters worse, I was also hungover. My mind kept on coming back to the fistfuls of calamari I had eaten earlier in the day. Why on earth did I eat so much calamari? My trip had taken a total 180 – I couldn’t wait to return home to the United States.
On the cab ride to the airport, I didn’t move a muscle and stayed perfectly still. The bumps in the road made my stomach leap. My mission was to just get through the airport security as fast as possible and find a place to lay down. Standing in line for airport security, I felt like my insides were about to explode.
My journey home was nightmare.
I didn’t have an aisle seat. I estimate I was up and in the bathroom close to 20+ times. I would return to my seat all sweaty and immediately close my eyes and pass out. I am weary of ever traveling that long a distance again on plane – it took a lot out of me.
But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I learned a lot about myself while 35,000 up in the air. Like the strength of the human body and the resiliency of the human spirit to withstand anything. It’s truly remarkable.
This was my first ever fit with food poisoning and has to rank among the worst all time illnesses I’ve ever had. Here are some tips I wish I knew before my flight. Enjoy!
Tips for Traveling with Food Poisoning:
- Immediately Buy Imodium
I should’ve learned from my India adventures that it is wise to always carry Imodium when you travel. I was convinced the diarrhea would stop eventually – it didn’t. Do yourself a favor and buy immodium ASAP. You can purchase some from the nearest pharmacy or buy online.
- Drink Fluids
My main concern throughout my flight was becoming dangerously dehydrated – especially while above the Atlantic Ocean with no emergency help nearby. I was losing tons of fluids from the diarrhea that it would’ve been impossible to replace them all.
- Supplement with Vitamin-C packets
I added Vitamin-C packets to my water to help the taste and to increase support for my immune system. They are cheap and easy to travel with as well and I feel better after drinking these. My favorite is the Emergen-C brand.
- See a Doctor and Get Antibiotics
Most airports have medical rooms where you can get treatment. I wish I had gone to one during my layover in Amsterdam, but I was worried I would miss my flight.
I knew I needed antibiotics and a diagnosis of exactly what was causing my illness. If food poisoning goes untreated, it has the potential to cause some serious damage. Make sure you see a doctor.
- Mind Over Matter
Pain is just weakness leaving the body. Set your mind on the end goal and do everything in your power to get there. I felt so much better when I landed in New York because I knew I was finally home. It wasn’t easy, but I would make the same decision every time.
*Update: It is now 5 days since I first felt the affects of food poisoning. I am feeling close to 100%, but am still not there yet. It is also Thanksgiving today 🙂