While this isn’t one of the more popular subjects when visiting a vacation based travel website (at least not a subject many people want to read about, unfortunately it is a necessary topic at times. I’ve included many posts on this site about food and water precautions (You can scan through my health section for those tips) but at times no matter how careful you are, you get a parasite or cyst.

Symptoms of Parasites

Symptoms of parasites, amoebas (amebas) and cysts are all pretty similar. Usually diarrhea is the main symptom. This can also include stomach cramps especially right after eating. Heavier parasite problems can also include nausea and vomiting although that seems to more often mean you have amoebas (amebas) which can be pretty serious. If you are throwing up with diarrhea don’t wait, collect samples and go see a Doctor right away, you don’t want to add dehydration and other more serious problems to your discomfort.

If you start to get some of these symptoms (single case of Diarrhea or some nausea) don’t panic. First remember it is likely you’re eating food that is not your normal diet, quite often that means more alcohol, deserts, strange foods and quite often just more food. Any of these can cause temporary stomach problems. However, if they persist it’s (usually more than 1-2 loose bowel movements), it is probably time to go get checked out.

Getting diagnosed really isn’t that bad (well a little gross). First you need a small sample of the offending body excretion be it the diarrhea or vomit (or both). While there are many methods to do this, it is probably easiest to get a few plastic bags from the local colmado (neighborhood store). Open one up and spread it below you as you sit down on the toilet and …. Well, collect your sample. Being that there is usually no was to shut down diarrhea and you only need a small sample, that is what the other bags are for. Turn one inside out, cover your hand and reach in and collect a few table spoons worth of your sample and pull the bag back over your hand trapping the sample inside. Tie a couple knots and stick that into a second bag to ensure there are no leaks.

Good point to remember is that you don’t need the entire job, just a small sample will due. That is a lot easier to carry around, hide, hand to the lab assistant (man what a job that must be) etc.

Finding a Clinic

This part is a lot different than the States. You might have had the travel company try to sell you expensive travel insurance to cover all the possible hospital bills that your normal health insurance doesn’t cover. It is very unlikely (more…)

While it may sound like a broken record recent news about health problems caused by drinking the water in Santiago reinforces the fact that you should not drink the water in the DR.

While at this time they are not able to confirm that the problem is actually cholera Santiago province public health director Ramon Martinez Henriquez put the blame on drinking the from the water supplied to the city residents by the city.

Whether the problem is caused by cholera or not, drinking tap water in the Dominican Republic can kill. (more…)

Over the last week there have been more cases of Cholera reported in the Dominican Republic. Heavy rains caused a sewage pipe to break affecting a several communities in Moca near Santiago.

Unfortunately even in the industrialized nations like the United States it is not uncommon to see people head straight out of the public bathrooms without washing their hands. That means if they have some infectious disease (like Cholera in the DR) this will be spread from everything they touch (shopping carts, door handles etc.)

While this isn’t new news, it does reinforce the need to clean your hands frequently while visiting public locations during your travels here in the DR. It is not a bad idea to keep hand sanitize with you so you can easily disinfect your hands before eating and other activities.

Other tips to remember while traveling here.

  • Always drink Bottled water
  • Avoid using ice if you are not sure how they make the ice in the restaurant you are eating at.
  • Thoroughly cooked foods are far safer than salads and other raw foods, even in resorts this can be a problem
  • Resist the urge to touch your face, especially near your mouth when you are out and about, in particular when shopping.
  • Clean your hands frequently
  • Try not to touch door handles when leaving public bathrooms (use a hand towel or tissue).


Once again Cholera is spreading on the island of Hispaniola. This time we are seeing more in the Dominican Republic. Depending on the report you read there have been either 15 or 23 deaths due to the disease. While this probably still isn’t a sufficient reason to avoid coming to the DR it’s good to review the precautions you should take.

There are several main areas that you should be cautious about; the water, fresh fruit and vegetables food from street venders, food from other restaurants, food from resort restaurants. While you can never be guaranteed to never have a problem, being careful will greatly reduce the chances of you having problems. If though you find you are having heavy diarrhea or vomiting when you are visiting any country it is good to get yourself checked out quickly, waiting can make it take longer to clear up.

If you do think you got something (stomach pains, diarrhea, vomiting) try finding a private clinic or hospital. (more…)

Isolated cholera case originating in Haiti is successfully diagnosed and treated in DR. Punta Cana, Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, La Romana, Samaná welcome visitors.

SANTO DOMINGO, Nov. 18, 2010 — The Dominican Republic (DR) Ministry of Tourism reassures visitors that the isolated case of cholera contracted in Haiti by a citizen visiting his family in that country has been diagnosed and successfully treated at a hospital in the Dominican Republic (DR). Due to careful DR monitoring and prevention systems, the 32-year-old Haitian construction worker who returned to the DR last Friday with symptoms of the intestinal illness, was quickly hospitalized and is in stable condition. (more…)

If you’re planning a trip to the Dominican Republic and are checking the news, it is pretty certain you are seeing quite a bit about the cholera problem in Haiti. Reasonably, you might be concerned with how this should affect your vacation plans, maybe even wondering if it might be best to cancel them.

First what is Cholera? Cholera is an intestinal infection that brings on a watery diarrhea, stomach pains and often vomiting. Not a pleasant way to spend your vacation.

How is it spread? For the most part by drinking infected water or eating infected food. It’s stated that “Cholera is rarely spread directly from person to person” (source Wikipedia Cholera).

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