If symptoms don’t abate, call the doc sooner rather than later

California flu deaths up despite fewer infections. Watch for signs you need a doctor
A reader suggests contacting medical professionals three days after arriving from a trip sick.
(Elnur Amikishiyev / TNS)

The article “Welcome-Home Illnesses” [On the Spot, by Catharine Hamm, Feb. 17] was informative and helpful. However, I would caution those who become ill to contact medical help after three days, not five.

My husband and I returned from a cruise around South America two years ago, and each of us developed severe intestinal problems. Imodium and a bland diet did not help.

We contacted our physician three days after our symptoms began but were too ill to go into his office. He insisted we go to the hospital for tests. When the results arrived, he sent us immediately to the ER for IV fluids. We were each severely dehydrated.

While being hydrated, we learned we’d each contracted two forms of E.coli, and I also had shigella. It took a long time to recover, and we were much more careful on a trip to the Panama Canal, Central America and Mexico the following year.


We advise others to be careful when eating and drinking abroad, monitor their welcome-home symptoms carefully, and take action within three days.

- Libby J. Awater, Ventura


As I approached my 77th birthday, I interpreted the double sevens as a not-so-subtle hint to spend it in Vegas, which I did.


Driving back on Monday I began coughing. By Tuesday, I had a fever just under 103, my head hurt and my chest felt like exploding. I felt as though the article was written just for me. It talks about how you may not have developed an immunity to viruses or bacteria elsewhere and how easily people spread them. I know of no other venue that offers a smorgasbord of various people and their apparent friendly germs in which to contract an illness.

Playing blackjack, video poker at a bar and various slots, I most likely came into contact with one of those friendly germs, which found me to be a perfect host.

On top of getting sick, I parted with a large amount of cash at various casinos, which in itself is ample reason to be sick.

- Bill Spitalnick, Newport Beach


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