Tuesday Topic: Tummy Troubles

Phyllis in Ukraine made the great suggestion on my food-poisoning pseudo Tuesday Topic a couple of weeks back that we share what we’ve each learned about tummy troubles. It certainly is a common thing when living overseas! Have you figured out anything in particular about avoiding tummy issues (food poisoning or otherwise) and/or how to deal with it when you are stuck with such issues? And don’t be shy to wow us all with your most spectacular food poisoning story!

(If you would like to pose a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to formissionarymoms@gmail.com . Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, and specify also if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)

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6 Responses to “Tuesday Topic: Tummy Troubles”


  1. 1 Ashley L February 8, 2012 at 4:39 am

    I am no expert in this area, but I’ll share the couple of bits that have helped us! Of course keeping hydrated is the most important thing with stomach bugs, and making sure you take in some electrolytes is also good. Our doctor told us that drinking natural fruit juices is actually hard on the stomach (even clear juice like apple juice) and that it is better to go for something artificial, believe it or not. You can make your own gatorade by diluting the juice and adding a bit of salt. There are other electrolyte drink mixes on the internet. Other than staying hydrated, sleep is the only thing that I know to do!

    Our most horrible experience with food poisoning was on a summer project in Siberia (Angie, do you remember this?!) when 11 out of the 22 in our group got horribly ill from eating some smoked fish that had sat out for much too long. It was supposed to have been our lunch on the way from camping to a retreat, but long story short was that the vans who were supposed to come get us after camping could not find our site because the “train stop” where we had been let off a week before was actually unaccesible by car…and we had no cell phones. So the fish sat warm in the car for several extra hours. The worst part was that we all got sick at the same time (on our one retreat weekend of the whole summer trip) and there was only 1 outhouse for the entire group. We all lined up on a bench outside of the house where we were staying, each with his or her own bucket, puking in turn. GROSS!!! It was literally the first time in my entire life that I had thrown up, and that was only after they threatened me with the prospect of having to have my stomach pumped in a small Siberian village. It was quite the experience.

  2. 2 Angie L February 8, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Oh my goodness, I still think about that experience. I really thought I might die, I felt so sick. Yes, I also think about taking turns at the outhouse. What a rough night.

  3. 3 Phyllis February 8, 2012 at 7:04 am

    My worst story is from a summer Siberia trip, too! Almost everyone got sick, and it was a shared outhouse, like you had. I don’t think we ever figured out exactly what the culprit was, but it was horrible.

    Ashley mentioned that they’ve gotten food poisoning every time they’ve stayed in a Russian camp setting. We never did (except for the one experience I mentioned above, and that was before I was married). It’s now, when we’re actually staying home more than ever before, that we’re having trouble.

    Somehow, in the past year and a half, we have had more tummy problems than ever before. Someone said that it’s just because we have little children. They pick up everything and share it around. I’m not sure, though. We started having little children 8 years ago, and this just started a little over a year ago. I have wondered if it’s some kind of parasite? At one point we did decide that my husband probably had guiardia (sp?). He got medicine for that, took it, and seemed to be better afterwards. The rest of us have never had the same symptoms as he had. Is there a parasite that causes short bouts of throwing up every month or so? And, this is too much information, but our children are also often very gassy.

    Our secret is Regidron. It’s a powder that you can buy at least in Russia and Ukraine. We use it every time someone starts throwing up. As far as I can tell, it’s pretty much like the active ingredients in Gatorade. It does taste yucky. You’re supposed to mix it up with water, but I’ve usually added a little apple juice, to make it more drinkable. Maybe I’ll have to stop that after reading what Ashley said, though.

  4. 4 Phyllis February 8, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Oh, wait, actually, I think our worst story was rotavirus last time we were in the states!

  5. 5 Sara February 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Since moving to Ghana one year ago, it feels like our 3 kids & I have had more than our share of viruses & new bacteria. My husband has the genetic gift of a super immune system.One of my son’s is especially likely to get ill. We have a long list of places he has “touched” :) the rest of us with his vomit/diarrhea. He covered my husband in vomit in the middle of the Accra mall, requiring the purchase of a new shirt. He (poor guy!) had an explosion on my lap in the car, on a busy highway. We were a sight to see! The obruni family cleaning that up along side the road. And, most recently, in a van full of visiting American construction workers. Better still, we are housing & feeding half of the work team these last two weeks. All the chidren have been sick, seeming to pass some sort of virus around. Since I need to be in the kitchen many prayers have been sent for me to stay healthy. And I have been!
    In the past, my personal worst happened on vacation. We were staying in a friend’s home. Their water source stopped. We were carrying water & it was in short supply. We had to wait til we couldn’t stand it anymore to bucket flush the toilets. And I was in bed with malaria & in the bathroom vomiting. Enough said. It did not turn out to be a relaxing vacation!;) Looking back on this time & others I’m reminded to remain aware of the strong attacks of discouragment Satan puts on us when we or our family is physically ill. It is a challenge to stand firm on the Word in those times.
    We do treat longer lasting diarrhea with an antibiotic. We filter our water from a borehole & know we risk intestinal infections we need to treat. But we cannot filter our neighborhood friends or the treats they want to share with the children! Otherwise, I keep them eating homemade yogurt & keep a stash of gatorade type drinks for serious times. And pray so often for the gift of healthy bodies & the grace to nurse all these little people back to big appetites again.

  6. 6 Kara Coe February 12, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Ashley, I can’t believe that you had never thrown up before that food poisoning event. Craziness! I remember hearing about it–so glad I wasn’t there. In fact, in defense of Siberia–I lived there for about 8 years, and I never had anything like food poisoning!

    One of my defining experiences of motherhood was throwing up while my one-year-old was playing nearby. I was amazed at my capacity to continue to engage with him, “I’m listening, just keep talking….” while vomiting. And that he didn’t notice anything was strange! It’s on my list of motherhood-without-any-family-nearby moments!


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