BOOK: "The Rough Guide to Travel Health," second edition, by Nick Jones (Rough Guides, $15.95).
TARGET AUDIENCE: Anyone who's had a vacation ruined by illness.
QUICK TAKE: Keep this book away from hypochondriac friends or they may never travel again. ("Hmm, what's this rash? Oh no -- schistosomiasis!") Jones gives us tips on avoiding food poisoning, recommends pre-trip shots for each country and helps us stock our first aid kits. Like most Rough Guide authors, he assumes we're going off-road; hence his emphasis on nasties you're more likely to encounter in the bush than in bistros.
Jones includes sections for travelers with special considerations -- epilepsy, diabetes, asthma, HIV. He also summarizes women's and children's travel health issues. But the heart of the book is a 151-page alphabetized description of things that can lay you low, with their symptoms, prevention and treatment (if one exists). Snakebite, SARS, sandfly fever -- maybe we'll just go to Orlando again this year.
RANT: While the grim recitations on Ebola and leprosy are interesting, there is little discussion of the more likely heart attack or stroke, or what to do if they occur far from civilization.
RAVE: Let your friends laugh when you fill your bags with medicine -- soon they'll be begging for your Kaopectate. -- Jerry V. Haines