Tips for avoiding travellers diarrhoea

Traveller’s diarrhoea is the most frequent cause of ill health amongst travellers. Particularly for those travelling into the developing countries of continents such as Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, it’s important to be aware of the signs of travellers diarrhoea, and how to avoid it!

How do you know if you’ve got travellers diarrhoea?

First things first, if you are feeling in anyway ill, please go consult your doctor! I am not a medical professional. I am merely passing on some common knowledge and information in regards to a common travellers illness.

Typically, travellers diarrhoea is defined as three or more unformed stools passed by a traveller within 24 hours. (Basically, if you have to go to the toilet for a poo at least 3 times over the course of a day, then it is possible you have travellers diarrhoea.)

The symptoms mentioned above are also usually accompanied by abdominal cramps, nausea, and bloating. As I mentioned above however, be sure to check with a doctor or registered medical professional before making any assumptions, as these symptoms can also be attributed to other illnesses and diseases.

So how do you treat it?

In most cases, drinking lots of clean bottled water to replace the lost fluids, and getting some good bed rest over a few days is enough to clear up a case of travellers diarrhoea. You may wish to take some oral re-hydration salts along with some of your water to help ease your stomach.

If the diarrhoea becomes severe, if you pass blood, if fever occurs with shaking chills, abdominal pains become severe, or diarrhoea persists for more than 72 hours, then medical treatment should definitely be sought. Your doctor may give you an antibiotic to kill the bacteria causing travellers diarrhoea.

How do you avoid travellers diarrhoea?

To help prevent travellers diarrhoea, avoid the following:

  • tap water (even for brushing your teeth)
  • ice (e.g. ice cubes in drinks)
  • salads and cold buffets
  • ice cream
  • raw fruit or vegetables (unless they can be peeled)

Tap water is probably the main one to avoid. By simply drinking bottled water at all times you can reduce your risk greatly. Always be sure to check that the bottle has been sealed before you drink it too, as there have been reports occasionally of sellers filling empty bottles of water and then reselling them as purified water.

– Just to reiterate, I am NOT a doctor or a medical professional. If you feel at all unwell, or think you have symptoms of travellers diarrhoea, please consult a doctor, and do not rely on this information alone. Sometimes just a bit of basic education can go along way in helping to prevent, identify, or treat something like travellers diarrhoea, which is why I decided to share this post with you. It’s also just information and tips that I use personally when travelling to try to prevent the disease.


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