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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Dealing With Montezuma’s Revenge
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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Dealing With Montezuma’s Revenge - Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Dealing With Montezuma’s Revenge

Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Dealing With Montezuma’s Revenge

Food poisoning happens to everyone on occasion, and when you’re on the road you can be especially vulnerable: new locales give your body new exposures, especially if you’re outside your home country, and what’s normal everyday food to the locals can be a literal test of your own intestinal fortitude. The symptoms that come with food poisoning (there are others, but vomiting and diarrhea are the stars) are bad enough when you’re in the discomfort of your own home, but add the complications of business travel, and you’re in a whole new kind of misery.

Your first thought is usually to power through it somehow. You’ve overcome more than a few bugs on the way to where you are now, and you’ll be darned if a little bit of foodborne campylobacter will get in the way of your objectives today. Resist this line of thinking. The temptation to be Superman confronts us all, but consider the advice you’d give a colleague stricken by food poisoning in the same situation. Your concern for the person would override your concern for the business he or she traveled hundreds of miles to conduct. Have some faith in the compassion of others and believe they’ll care about your well-being the same way you’d care about theirs. Extend your stay if you can, knowing that your body will get over most non-serious cases in two to four days, and see if you can make up for lost time once you’re back on your feet. Attempting to conduct business as usual is most likely going to result in embarrassment, not profit.

Once you’ve resigned yourself to a couple of long days and nights within striking distance of the plumbing, inform the hotel desk that you request no disturbances, including room cleaning in the morning, unless you’re seized by the need to order room service. Let them know you’re not well, and you may receive some TLC in whatever way the hotel management can think to care for you. Then go to whatever your usual treatment is for this ailment. The unanimous advice is to keep hydrating with water (not alcohol or sweet soft drinks!) and sports drinks such as Gatorade, but beyond that, home remedies abound. Some say to nibble on crackers or soup, while others take the cram-more-food-down-your-throat approach, in the hopes that this time everything will stay down. Whatever your method, get as comfortable as you can, drink lots of water, and ride the storm out, keeping an eye out for signs of severe food poisoning and dehydration, such as sustained fever and very dark urine. If symptoms don’t abate by the end of the fourth day, get yourself to a doctor.

While food poisoning can strike anywhere and at any time, there are a few things you can do to prevent it while on the road. Check crowd-sourced restaurant reviews for repeated remarks about illness after dining. It’s true that even in the best of restaurants a wayward bacterium can find its way to your dinner plate, but there’s no sense in taking a chance on the places that seem to be repeat offenders. How cautious you want to be about local cuisine, particularly local street fare, is up to you—some feel it’s better to be safe than sorry—yet the adventure of being in a new place almost demands you get off the beaten path if you can. For questionable holes in the wall, bring a few sanitary wipes (some travelers swear by them) and discretely give every utensil and plate, if you can manage it, a quick rub-down. For street food, spend some time getting a few looks from behind a food stand or wagon, looking for evidence of unsafe conditions. Otherwise, look for the longest line, hope that your constitution can match up with the locals’, and hope for the best. Ask for the advice of colleagues you’re conducting business with. Chances are good they’ll know what’s safe and what should be avoided.

An ounce of prevention is sometimes not enough, so if you’re the unfortunate victim, remember to take care of yourself the way your business associates would want you to. Then give them the professional courtesy of trying to get well as quickly as possible so your trip can be salvaged at least partway, and make the best of things in a horrible situation.


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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Dealing With Montezuma’s Revenge - Executive Leadership Articles

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