New traveller’s Guide to Avoiding Traveller’s Diarrhoea

New traveller’s Guide to Avoiding Traveller’s Diarrhoea

New traveler’s Guide to Avoiding Traveller’s Diarrhoea

 

Traveler’s diarrhea (TD) is one of the most common problems almost 35% of the people face who travel to foreign countries. TD occurs mainly in underdeveloped countries with less or poor hygienic conditions.  It is an unpleasant digestive tract disease. TD is a stomach and intestinal infection caused by eating contaminated food or water.

Traveler’s diarrhea is marked by frequent (3 or more) loose stools and abdominal cramps in 24-hours while traveling. It usually takes 2-3 days to recover from the traveler’s diarrhea with caution and a little treatment. The symptoms of TD may last for 7 days in some cases. If the infection gets severe, it may result in bloody diarrhea. 

If you have diarrhea, contact your doctor at once or talk to a healthcare expert at emeds and stay hydrated.

The Symptoms of Traveller’s Diarrhoea

The most common symptoms of the traveler’s diarrhea are:

  • Stomach pain
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Loose (watery) stools
  • Urgent bowel movements
  • Slight fever
  • Headache

Traveler’s diarrhea resolves with little treatment and cautions in a few days. However, if it lasts for more than 48 hours and the symptoms get intense, then the chances are the bacteria have penetrated the intestinal lining and caused an infection. The signs of the severe disease (cholera) are:

New traveller’s Guide to Avoiding Traveller’s Diarrhoea

  • High fever (102 F or more)
  • Severe abdominal cramps
  • Chills
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Bloody stools (dysentery)
  • Mucus or worms in stool
  • Severe headache
  • Severe dehydration
  • Skin lesions

Who Are At Risk for Traveller’s Diarrhoea?

The people who are at greater risk for traveler’s diarrhea are:

New traveller’s Guide to Avoiding Traveller’s Diarrhoea

  • Diabetics
  • Immunosuppressed persons
  • Young adults
  • People with inflammatory bowel disease
  • Those taking H2 blockers or antacids

How Traveller’s Diarrhoea Spreads

You can contract a traveler’s diarrhea anytime and anywhere. However, the risk is higher in underdeveloped countries with poor sanitation and hygienic conditions, for instance, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Mexico, Latin America, Caribbean Islands, etc. Traveler’s diarrhea is contracted by food and water that contains bacteria, viruses, or parasites. The food and water get contaminated when people with fecal contents on their hands handle these. Bacteria are the leading cause of about 80% of traveler’s diarrhea. The rest of the 20% may be caused by viruses and protozoa. The pathogens responsible for the spread of traveler’s diarrhea are:

Bacterial

Some of the viruses release toxins that bind to the intestinal walls; others directly damage the intestines. The bacteria that accounts for the spread of traveler’s diarrhea are:

New traveller’s Guide to Avoiding Traveller’s Diarrhoea

  • Enteroaggregative E.coli
  • Shigella s species
  • Salmonella species
  • Vibrio species
  • Campylobacter

Viral

The viruses responsible for causing traveler’s diarrhea are:

  • Norwalk virus (norovirus)
  • Rotavirus.
  • Enteroviruses

Parasitic

The parasites found in contaminated water often lead to gut issues and eventually to diarrhea. The protozoa responsible for traveler’s diarrhea are:

  • Giardia
  • Entamoeba histolytica
  • Cryptosporidium

High-Risk Food and Drink

The foods and drinks highly responsible for the spread of traveler’s diarrhea are:

New traveller’s Guide to Avoiding Traveller’s Diarrhoea

  • Tap water
  • Ice cubes (ice may be contaminated)
  • Unpeeled fruits
  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Raw leafy vegetables
  • Seafood
  • Unpasteurized dairy products

Tips for the Prevention of Traveller’s Diarrhoea

The root cause of traveler’s diarrhea is sanitation failure that eventually causes food and water contamination. Try to follow the basic health guidelines while traveling. Travelers need to follow some of the essential tips to prevent traveler’s diarrhea, for instance:

New traveller’s Guide to Avoiding Traveller’s Diarrhoea

  • Maintain good personal hygiene.
  • Wash your hands with clean water or sanitize your hands.
  • Use bottled water, boiled water, and bottled carbonated beverages.
  • Hot coffee or tea is safe to drink.
  • Try to unseal bottled water yourself.
  • Avoid ice as it may be made from contaminated water.
  • Avoid salad as lettuce and other ingredients might be washed from dirty water.
  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables or wash or peel fruits yourself.
  • Do not buy food or beverage from unhygienic street stalls.
  • Hygienically and Properly cooked fish, meat, and vegetables served hot are best.
  • Packaged food is a good option.
  • Seafood, raw, or undercooked meat is highly risky.
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk, dairy products, mayonnaise, etc.

Rehydration Tips 

Once you contract a traveler’s diarrhea, it not only spoils your vacation but also gives you immense trouble and discomfort. The essential step is to rehydrate and replace lost salts. The top priority is fluid intake (oral rehydration). Follow these tips to rehydrate yourself:

New traveller’s Guide to Avoiding Traveller’s Diarrhoea

  • Restore the fluid lost in the stools with the oral intake of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Drink around 3 liters of purified water daily to replace the lost fluids.
  • Drink oral rehydration salts (ORS) to restore both fluids and electrolytes.
  • Gatorade, Powerade, and Lucozade (sports drinks) are equally good.
  • Bottled fruit juices, caffeine-free soft drinks, hot tea, and broth also work well.
  • Use oral rehydration salts or salty crackers to replace lost electrolytes.
  • Carbonated water or soda is also beneficial. 
  • Make a drink with a pinch of salt and a few spoons of sugars in purified water.
  • Eat bananas, rice, bread, potatoes, cereals, and plain noodles.
  • Keep drinking despite vomiting, some of the fluid still remains in the body.
  • Try to avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
  • You need to have intravenous treatment if you are in a hot climate.

Medication or Vaccine of Traveller’s Diarrhoea

There is no vaccine for traveler’s diarrhea so far. If dehydration symptoms persist despite rehydration, you need medication to avoid serious circumstances. If severe symptoms like intense cramps, fever, chills, and bloody stool carry on, you need to seek advice from the doctor and start the treatment. The medication for traveler’s diarrhea includes:

New traveller’s Guide to Avoiding Traveller’s Diarrhoea

  • Anti-motility agents like loperamide (Imodium)
  • Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
  • Antibiotics (Bactrim DS, Ciprofloxacin, Noroxin, Floxin, and Vibramycin)

Antibiotics are recommended only in moderate-severe conditions. Mild cases are cured with Loperamide and Bismuth subsalicylate. Keep yourself hydrated with ORS despite medication. Take the medicines as prescribed by the doctor or suggested by the pharmacist.

Saba Ghani
Saba Ghani

Since 2017, Saba Ghani has been the chief content writer for Pakistan Tour and Travel & EMHI Solutions. You can catch her at sabaghani80@gmail.com or Twitter

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