How to Avoid Traveler’s Diarrhea

One of the most common diseases that plague avid vacationers is traveler’s diarrhea.

The condition involves infection by the bacteria known as E. coli. In other cases, parasites and viruses can also trigger the condition. These are acquired by travelers whenever they consume spoiled or contaminated food and beverages. The symptoms will differ in type, severity and number depending on the tolerance of the affected person. Some of the most common effects include fever, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain which last 3 to 7 days.

About Location
Travelers going to certain countries are especially at risk for getting traveler’s diarrhea such as nations in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia. The report is provided by the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which also indicates that lack of proper refrigeration and sanitary methods are the main reason for the widespread occurrence. Travelers should be extra careful when trying new food and drinks in foreign countries.

Staying Safe in High-Risk Places
Traveler’s diarrhea can be avoided if visitors only drink bottled water or water that has been treated or boiled for 10 minutes. Do not drink water from the faucet or add ice cubes to bottled or canned beverages. Water can be disinfected by adding iodine tablets. Refrain from eating food from street vendors and other questionable establishments. Should you eat fruits, make sure that the peel is still on. Avoid eating raw foods. If the food is cooked, make sure that it hasn’t been left exposed for several hours. Food from tropical locations may be toxic even when cooked. Children below six months old should be fed with formula using sterilized water or breast milk only.

Making Necessary Preparations
Always see a physician and have him recommend the needed treatments and medications before traveling. Travelers should always have a full set of antibiotics and other anti-diarrheal medications.

Watch out for early signs of traveler’s diarrhea and immediately take medications at the slightest hint. Young children are not advised to take anti-diarrheal medications immediately. Electrolyte replacement fluids and clean water are better solutions for mild or moderate symptoms. Look for a physician for severe cases.

The IDSA or Infectious Disease Society of America recommends taking fluoroquinolones, orrifaximin and bismuth subsalicylate to treat traveler’s diarrhea. Avoid other products like fresh salads, raw food, cold toppings and sauces, tap water, undercooked food, open buffet and unpasteurized dairy products. Also stay hydrated all day long.