Unwell after paddling - any advice?

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Sticky_wave
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Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by Sticky_wave » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:50 am

Hi everyone,

I have recently started paddling the Thames weirs when the water is up, but have found that after almost every session, I am pretty unwell for anything from 24hrs to several days. Without going into too much detail, this can be upset stomach and/or vomiting.

I'm led to believe this is from all the crap (literally) in the water from rats/foxes/birds etc. It's getting to the point where I'm considering stopping paddling because of it - when it's particularly bad I have to take time off work and cancel other plans.

My question is: if I stick at it, will my immune system toughen up and it stop being a problem? I gather others are sick occasionally, but I seem to be the only one who gets hit every time.

I take all the precautions I can; not ingesting water, washing hands before eating, showering as soon as possible, rinsing gear throughly when home. Even tried the 'can of Coke' thing, but not convinced there's any science behind that.

Any tips/thoughts/advice would be appreciated.

Cheers.

Sticky_wave
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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by Sticky_wave » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:03 am

Just realised this probably in the wrong place. Will try and move.

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TechnoEngineer
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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by TechnoEngineer » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:07 am

Good -vs- bad bacteria is a numbers game.

Wash your face and hands before eating, and use antibac on your hands. Maybe wear a noseplug.

Suggest you try Boots Travel Probiotic, and keep up your Vitamin C, Zinc and Ginger intake.
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feedbackproblem
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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by feedbackproblem » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:30 am

Having recently just recovered from a bug that is commonly found in dirty water (and uncooked chicken) you have my sympathy. If you have caught something from the water then it is most likely a bacterial infection and depending on what it is, it may need to be treated with antibiotics. Rather than you catching a new infection every time you go paddling it could be the case that you caught something once and just haven't recovered fully. The only way to find out is to visit your GP.

I usually have a small bottle of anti bacterial hand gel on me when I go paddling and use it if I'm eating on the river and before I drive home so I don't leave lurgy all over the steering wheel.

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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by Franky » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:37 am

I too am very susceptible to river bugs. It doesn't matter whether I ingest, I just need to be immersed and I get ill.

I assume that if any water touches the mucous membranes in your nose, the germs have a way in.

I now wear a nose plug if there's a chance of immersion, and have usually been fine. It's a bit uncomfortable but preferable to getting sick.

I've generally been OK without a nose plug on fast-flowing rural rivers, but anything slow-flowing, or with factories or sewage works upstream, does it for me.

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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by davebrads » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:56 am

This is very common at the Holme Pierrepont whitewater course, where it's colloquially known as the Trent Trots. Most people go through two or three bouts of sickness then develop immunity, though I know some people who claim that they have never got to that stage and just avoid paddling there instead.
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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by Sticky_wave » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:02 am

Thanks for the responses folks.

I already use nose and ear plugs for others reasons, but they don't seem to be help with this.

I am playboating so it's more or less guaranteed I'm going to be fully immersed, upside down, rolling a lot etc.

Good suggestion with the hand gel, although I suspect the damage is done before I even get off the water. I'll get on the Berocca's too :)

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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by Poke » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:04 am

Based on nothing more than personal experience, I’d say that you will build up an immunity to river bugs over time. I was ill the first time I went to HPP and not since. I later went to Teesside when the levels were high with two guys who’d not paddled at the artificial (more polluted) courses before. They both got ill and I didn’t... Think you’ll get other similar circumstantial evidence from others.

Something that I’ve not heard suggested before is Dukoral – the cholera vaccine. In other countries it is used as a travellers D&V “vaccination” (I’m sure it’s not 100% effective, but it helps), but it isn’t used for that over here (maybe that has changed now). Suspect that it would probably be effective to some extent against Thames water. Think it requires prescription. Suspect you’d have to speak to your GP about it and see what they suggest. Something to do a bit of research into anyway?
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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by DaveBland » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:00 pm

To link two threads together... maybe that's why there are pubs near all river get-outs so you can 'disinfect' yourself with some medicine after?
I believe the Scottish medicines work well, but it takes several rounds of application.
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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by Mark Dixon » Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:00 pm

I have a very weak stomach and will stay away from HPP and similar places, I also paddled the Walkham into the Lower Tavy and ended up seriously sick for 4 days, never been back. These days I have learnt to eat nothing whilst on the river and drink loads of diet coke, I'll have a can between laps of the Upper Dart and wont eat until I'm home or had some drink in my stomach for a fair while. I'm either getting used to the bugs on Dartmoor or my methods are working as I've not been sick on river for a couple years now where as it was a common event for a while.
If your paddling places like the Thames unfortunately your going to come across dirty water, maybe if your getting sick so much you need to change your rivers otherwise bad experiences will put you off.
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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by sundaykayaker » Thu Jan 14, 2016 4:19 pm

[quote=....but it takes several rounds of application.[/quote] yep... That works to reduce the pain.... :)
My limited experience is the opposite...
Having been exposed to poor quality water at HPP. I am now sensitised... Even a small exposure leads to upset stomach. Even after taking some of precautions mentioned above.

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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by morsey » Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:11 pm

HPP can do one. I have no intention of being exposed to the myriad of bugs that place churns out.

Nice to see the River Dart Country Park has alcohol dispensers in the cafe. (For hand cleaning, not talking about pumps and optics!)

Advice? Go see a doctor.

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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by LucyLou19 » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:50 pm

Have you ensured your body is fully recovered after each bout of sickness. Possibly 7-14 days without kayaking? It could be that your body is sick from the intial exposure to the water and then catching everything else going in terms of winter D & V etc.

I have been to HPP 4 times, sick twice, Teeside twice, sick once... Not been sick from Thames weirs yet. My biggest thing I have changed is making an effort to not inflate-deflate my happy seat and also to place my water bottle on the side so its not getting rinsed in the thames. I rinse my happy seat before i inflate it if I have to deflate- inflate ... appears to work well ish.

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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by Junior » Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:16 pm

Not sure whether it works or not but i've heard some people swear by a can of coke after you paddle.

Worth a try at least!

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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by TheEcho » Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:09 am

I don't believe a can of Coke could do anything more than get the taste out of your mouth. But Pepto Bismol is proven to prevent about half of the cases of travellers diarrhoea so would be worth a try for frequent sufferers of river trots - probably similar bugs. Easier to get hold of than cholera vaccine.

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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by SPL » Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:31 pm

A can of coke is useless, diet coke even more so. You need at least a litre of full fat coke, the real McCoy no cheap imitations and guzzle the whole lot.
Then stand tall mouth open and wait for it, don't force it, enjoy letting out that belch of satisfaction and crack on with life.

Hope that helps.

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Re: Unwell after paddling - any advice?

Post by Junior » Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:46 pm

Like I said, never tried it but it's worth a go!

I like the belch idea... that always makes me feel better.

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