Health problems while traveling

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Q: I often travel out of the country and even though I am very careful, I seem to get parasites often. What should I be doing to prevent it from happening? Could this create long-term or more serious health problems? Should I have any endoscopy tests done? Doug P., Allen Park

A: If symptoms of diarrhea persist, then yes, you should have a colonoscopy done to rule out a long-term problem. Each time you travel, you should take Flagyl for infection prophylaxis (prevention) and continue being careful. Remember to wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom, avoid all raw and undercooked foods, only eat food that is freshly prepared and very hot, drink only sealed beverages and water or boiled water — brush your teeth with it too and wear socks and shoes. (Parasites can enter your feet from the ground.)

Q: For the past month I have been having bouts of dizziness. When I stand up, I become off balance and feel nauseous. This lasts for about two to three hours, but it is happening more often as time passes. Could this be related to my alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency, liver disease and irritable bowel syndrome? Ashley M., Lincoln Park

A: Most likely, it is not related. If the room is spinning and you have nausea, it could be an inner ear probem. See an ear, nose and throat specialist as well as visit your primary care physician so they can order tests to check your electrolytes and hemoglobin levels.

Q: I am 21 years old and very thin. I have a poor digestive system — my stomach is very active and I always have stomach aches. Do I have problem? How can I get stronger? Frank C., Dearborn

A: It could be a problem. An EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) scope of the upper digestive tract is indicated to make sure you do not have any bacteria in your stomach or any malabsorption problems due to celiac disease.

Rana Sabbagh, M.D., is board-certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology and nutrition. She is the founder of GastroCenter of Michigan and Experior Weight Loss Clinic, 23500 Park St., Suite 2B in Dearborn. Do you have a health question for Dr. Sabbagh? Submit it by email to: askthedoctor@cscmi.net.

All information provided in Ask The Doctor is intended for your general knowledge. Consult with your personal doctor or pharmacist for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of information you have read in any publication.