An Apple A Day…

Not long after the Irishman and I first arrived in Jakarta, we found ourselves being cornered at various social events by well meaning, but rather hypochondriac expats who for want of nothing better to talk about, insisted upon regaling to us a long list of ‘typical’ ailments that we might well expect to pick up or catch during our sojourn in Indonesia.

We were warned in no uncertain terms of the perils of eating street food, the likelihood of long and sustained bouts of dysentery that could leave the sufferer housebound for up to a week, the high risk of Dengue fever in the rainy season, being bitten by mosquito’s at the coast and, as a consequence, contracting life-threatening Malaria plus various other diseases such as Hepatitis A and E, TB and Typhoid. Added to the line up of ailments were also unsavoury skin complaints and I seem to remember that a few tropical fevers were thrown into the diseases mix too. I can’t remember what they were as I had stuck my fingers in my ears by this stage and stopped listening as it was all starting to make me feel just a little uncomfortable and itchy- scratchy in places I normally wouldn’t be.

We were frequently told by various caring souls of the grave consequences of not drinking bottled water, of using boiled water to clean our teeth, and to wash all our fruit and vegetables thoroughly. Never to eat salads when dining out, however tempting it may be, and to remember to take handfuls of vitamins everyday to boost our immune systems.

The last piece of happy, gratuitous medical advice handed out to us was to take a prophylactic wormer every month for good measure. ‘Worms abound here’ we were told by the smiling purveyor of all things grim.

Just recently there’s been a story going around about someone having to have a worm surgically removed because it was so big. When I was told about this poor person’s desperate affliction, my stomach churned and I made a mental note to to find out about these monster worms at the earliest opportunity since neither myself, nor the Irishman, have heeded anyone’s advice about taking pills, worming or otherwise.

For research purposes and because I’m as curious as hell to find out the truth about this story going around, I decided to Google ‘intestinal worms and internal parasites’ and you know what? I really wish that I hadn’t.

If ever there was an opportunity to use the phrase ‘opening up a can of worms’, this is it, this is exactly what I have done. I am off at first light tomorrow to the nearest chemist and stock piling.


stodes (Tapeworms); bladder worms, pork tapeworms, broad fish, dog tapeworms, dwarf and rat tapeworms. Broad fish tapeworms may grow to 35 feet long and live ten years inside the persons intestines. Some tapeworms can lay as many as one million eggs per day. Their bodies are in separate segments with hooks and suction cups on their skull.

They can make Swiss cheese out of your organs. Worm infections can cause physical trauma by perforating (burrowing) the intestines, the circulatory system, the lungs, the liver or the whole bodies.

Above source taken from Googling Human Intestinal Parasites

2 thoughts on “An Apple A Day…

  1. That has made my day, I wish that I had found that gem of a quiz and I would have included it with the post for sure. Just in case you were wondering, I’m 54% but no surprises there. In fact I may well be more as it said ‘How often do you visit developing countries?’ not ‘Do you live in one’. You see that’s the thing that could swing it right up to maybe 80% or higher. I’ll go back and do it again……


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