Delhi Belly

It can sneak up on you, like a cobra.  Pounce on you, like a tiger. Smash you flat, like an elephant’s foot.  It’s the South Asian cousin of Montezuma’s Revenge…Delhi Belly.

Was it the green sauce at lunch?  Did you forget, and brush your teeth with sink water?  Was there a raw tomato with skin chopped into that dish you enjoyed? One way or another, Stranger-in-town E. coli is having a Bollywood brawl with New York E. coli.  And you’re the arena.

Some of us try to be careful:  no ice, no salad, no unpeeled fruit, no this, no that.  Some dive in and eat everything.  Do the careful ones get sick the most, or does it just seem that way?  Last year in Peru, about 3/4 of the team was sick at once…I guess that is the Quechua Curse?

The good news is, we know what to do:  The HTCNE/Fenner treatment plan.  Swallow 1000 mg of Azithromycin.  Take a Zofran anti-nausea tab so you don’t throw up the antibiotics.  Lie still.  Wait.  Eat plain, biscuits and rice, for a few days.  If you are really sick, you might even get an IV if it’s a surgical day.

Note to self:  keep the Azithromycin in your purse, not your hotel room.  You might not see your hotel room until hours after you feel the cobra coil to strike.  Those hours will long and unpleasant.

Oh the splendor and glamour of international travel!  If only we could ban intestinal hitchhikers.  Somehow they sneak in no matter where we go.


About Shari Salzhauer Berkowitz

Shari is a speech language pathologist and assistant professor of communication disorders at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY.
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