A Wake-Up Call: Our Encounter with Typhoid Fever in Bali
I want to share an eye-opening experience that recently unfolded during our family trip to beautiful Bali. As the founder of Kooshy Kids and a mum to two amazing kids, Mila (10) and Jack (8), I've always prioritised their health and safety while exploring the world. However, our recent encounter with Typhoid Fever has left me determined to spread awareness about this surprisingly common yet often overlooked illness.
For years, my family has been visiting Bali multiple times a year, and we've never experienced Bali Belly or any major health issues. So, when my daughter Mila began feeling unwell during our last trip, I initially brushed it off as tiredness from a week of non-stop fun with friends at our hotel in Seminyak. She complained of a headache and a sore tummy, which led me to believe it was nothing more than exhaustion.
To provide her some relief, I gave Mila Panadol and encouraged her to drink plenty of water. Unfortunately, her condition worsened the next day, with her complaining of an even more terrible headache. Concerned, I suspected appendicitis due to the severity of her stomach pains. With her unable to tolerate any pressure on her tummy, I decided it was time to seek medical help.
We quickly made our way to a medical clinic, situated conveniently next to our hotel. The doctor examined Mila and mentioned a few possibilities, one of which caught me by surprise: Typhoid Fever. I thought, "Surely not!" and assumed it was just a stomach flu. However, to confirm her suspicions, the doctor recommended a blood test. It was Mila's first-ever blood test, and understandably, she was terrified.
Within a few hours, the results were back—impressively fast. The doctor messaged me, confirming my worst fears: Mila had indeed contracted Typhoid Fever. Along with the prescription for antibiotics, the doctor kindly shared a list of recommended foods to avoid.
I wasted no time getting the antibiotics and starting Mila on them. At first, it seemed like she was responding positively, but soon enough, violent vomiting and uncontrollable diarrhea struck. The entire night was spent battling this relentless onslaught. By morning, exhaustion had taken its toll on all of us.
Cleaning buckets and desperately requesting fresh sheets and towels, I found solace in the doctor's consistent support and care. Even when she wasn't on duty, she continued to check in on Mila via WhatsApp, displaying a level of compassion that left me truly grateful.
Mila woke up the next day with depleted energy levels and excruciating stomach pain once again. The ondansetron we were given for relief had lost its efficacy. The doctor, informed of our situation by her colleague, suggested an intravenous (IV) injection to alleviate the pain. Despite her fear, Mila bravely agreed, stating she would do anything to relieve her from the agonising stomach pain.
Within just one hour of receiving the IV injection, Mila's condition significantly improved. Although she has been fatigued in the days since, overall, her health has steadily improved, and we're grateful to be on the road to recovery.
In light of our experience, I took to social media to share our story, and the response was astonishing. Numerous individuals recounted their own encounters with Typhoid Fever, or knew of others who had faced it within the past six months while in Bali. This prompted me to dive deeper into research, and I found it crucial to spread awareness about the current prevalence of this illness.
So, what is Typhoid Fever, exactly? It is a bacterial infection caused by Salmonella typhi, which spreads through contaminated food and water. Poor sanitation, inadequate hygiene practices, and consuming contaminated food or drinks can lead to its transmission. Bali, like any other tourist destination, is not immune to such risks.
According to recent statistics, the number of Typhoid Fever cases in Bali has been on the rise. However, it is disheartening to note that there is currently no specific recommendation for Typhoid vaccination on the Smart Traveller Australia website, nor any mention of Typhoid being a moderate risk in Bali.
If you have a Bali trip planned, I strongly advise visiting your GP or travel doctor prior to your departure. It's crucial to make an informed decision that takes into account your individual circumstances. During your consultation, if you're open to it, consider discussing available vaccinations and their potential benefits for you and your family's health.
Let our experience serve as a wake-up call, prompting us all to take necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones. As a responsible traveller and a parent, I have made the decision to ensure our family is vaccinated against Typhoid Fever before embarking on our future adventures. I will also be extremely vigilant in ensuring that we are taking probiotics in the months leading up to our next trip and continue these throughout. In the past we have used Pono...it's a nice favoured powder that you can sprinkle on their cereal or just take straight up as a spoonful (I love the coconut flavour).
Remember, knowledge is power, and by sharing our experiences and staying informed, we can create a safer and healthier travel community. Together, we can make a difference and ensure that future trips are filled with incredible memories rather than unexpected health setbacks.
To know more about essential tips about Bali, please visit my other blog Bali Cheat Sheet - Everything You Need to Know.
Safe travels and stay healthy!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It is based on personal experiences and research, and may not be suitable for everyone.
For any health concerns or questions, please consult a healthcare professional. Remember, this blog does not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek professional guidance for personalised recommendations and care.