Traveler’s Diarrhea Treatment | Causes And Symptoms
Recently Updated On: March 8th, 2018
Traveler’s diarrhea is a digestive tract disorder that commonly causes loose stools and abdominal cramps. Contaminated water and food are the main causes behind it. Usually, traveler’s diarrhea isn’t serious — it’s just unpleasant.
When you visit a place where the climate or environmental conditions are different from your’s home country or city, there might be chances you have developing traveler’s diarrhea.
You should be careful about what you eat and drink while traveling to another place to avoid traveler’s diarrhea. Usually, traveler’s diarrhea is not risky and resolve itself without treatment after taking some minor precautions. However, you can take some prescribed medicines, in case the symptoms are not under control or diarrhea persist more than two days.
Travellers Diarrhea After Returning Home
Traveler’s diarrhea usually flares up during your trip or shortly after you return home. In most cases, it resolves itself within one to two days without treatment and clears up completely within a week.
Travelers Diarrhea Symptoms
Some common signs and symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea are as follows:
- Abrupt onset of passage of three or more loose stools a day
- An urgent need to defecate
- Abdominal cramps
Besides these symptoms, sometimes people experience :
- moderate to severe dehydration,
- persistent vomiting,
- a high fever,
- bloody stools or
- severe pain in the abdomen or rectum
If you or your child experiences any of these signs or symptoms or if diarrhea lasts longer than two days, you should talk to a doctor.
Travelers Diarrhea Causes
It’s possible that traveler’s diarrhea may stem from the stress of traveling or a change in diet. But almost always an infectious agent is to blame.
Traveller’s diarrhea is one of the major waterborne diseases since it happens due to contaminated water or Food Poisoning (contaminated food). Traveler’s diarrhea typically develops after taking food or water contaminated with organisms from feces.
These organisms can be either bacteria, viruses or parasites. These all are infectious agents that enter your digestive tract and increases your bowel moment thus resulting traveler’s diarrhea.
The most common cause of traveler’s diarrhea is enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) bacteria. These bacteria attach themselves to the lining of your intestine and release a toxin that causes diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
People Who Affected The Most
It is your destination that decided your chances of getting traveler’s diarrhea. But certain people have a higher risk of developing the condition. These include:
- People with weakened immune systems: Less immunity means less power to fight with infectious diseases.
- People with diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease or suffered from liver cirrhosis: These conditions are more prone to get the infection or increase the risk of getting a severe infection.
- People who take acid blockers or antacids: Taking antacids frequently reduces the acid in the stomach. The acid in the stomach tends to destroy organisms. Hence the reduction in stomach acid may leave more opportunity for bacterial survival.
- Weather or climatic conditions: People are at high risk who travel in the wet climatic area or near the monsoon months. For example, before the monsoon, south asia is more risky for travelers’ diarrhea.
How Long Does Travelers Diarrhea Last
Traveler’s diarrhea usually last on its own within two-three days. Signs and symptoms may last longer for a week. If symptoms other than the given above, you may need prescription medications to help you get better.
Travelers Diarrhea Diet
Eat nutritious food after recovery to avoid weakness and fluid loss because of repeated stools and vomits. See What To Eat When You Have Diarrhea.?
Some foods you should avoid while having diarrhea, such as heavy, oily or outside food items during and even for some days after recovery because they stimulate the bowel moment and tends to increased diarrhea.
Travelers Diarrhea Prevention
One thing must remember while you are away from your home city- always use boiled water and well-cooked meal to minimize the risk of getting sick. Besides this remember below tips to prevent you from traveler’s diarrhea:
- Don’t consume food from street vendors.
- Avoid unpasteurized milk and dairy products, including ice cream.
- Avoid raw or undercooked meat, fish, and shellfish.
- Steer clear of moist food at room temperatures, such as sauces and buffet offerings.
- Eat foods that are well-cooked and served hot.
- Stick to fruits and vegetables that you can peel yourself, such as bananas, oranges, and avocados. Stay away from salads and nonpeelable fruits, such as grapes and berries.
- Be aware that alcohol in a drink won’t keep you safe from contaminated water or ice.
Don’t drink the non-purified water
When visiting high-risk countries, keep the following tips in mind:
- Avoid unsterilized water — from a tap, well or stream. If you need to consume local water, boil it for three minutes.
- Avoid locally made ice cubes or mixed fruit juices made with tap water.
- Beware of sliced fruit that may have been washed in contaminated water.
- Don’t swim in water that may be contaminated.
- Keep your mouth closed while showering.
- Feel free to drink canned or bottled drinks in their original containers — including water, carbonated beverages, beer or wine — as long as you break the seals on the containers yourself. Wipe off any can or bottle before drinking or pouring.
- Use bottled water to brush your teeth.
- Use bottled or boiled water to mix baby formula.
- Order hot beverages, such as coffee or tea, and make sure they’re steaming hot.
You can also chemically disinfect water with iodine or chlorine tablets by purchasing from nearby pharmacies. But too much use of iodine can be harmful.
Traveler’s Diarrhea Treatment
If you’re suffering from traveler’s diarrhea, your body will be dehydrated. Taking proper fluids with ORS and glucose to keep your body hydrated is must during traveler’s diarrhea treatment. In case the diarrhea is severe, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Hospitalization may be suggested or can take the help of local embassy or consulate in case of abroad. They may be able to help you find a well-regarded medical professional who speaks your language.
You can take some mild medicine of diarrhea with proper dose as your physician may suggest you such as Imodium or Probiotics.
People reading this Article should also read:
- Diarrhea Caused By Medication
- Diarrhea During Periods | Get Instant Relief
- Diarrhea During early Pregnancy | Causes, And Treatment
Sources: https://www.mayoclinic.org/; www.drugs.com/mcd/traveler-s-diarrhea; https://waterstories.nestle-waters.com/health/; https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000422.htm