Diarrhea is a condition that causes you to have watery and loose stools. Diarrhea is often a symptom of another illness, such as the flu or food poisoning. Traveler’s diarrhea is a type of diarrhea that can be caused by eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. If you are planning a trip, it is essential to be aware of the risks of traveler’s diarrhea and how you can prevent it.
What is the Difference Between Traveler’s Diarrhea and Diarrhea?
The difference between traveler’s diarrhea and regular diarrhea is that traveler’s diarrhea is often caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. This can occur when traveling to different parts of the world where the sanitation standards may be lower than what you are used to. On the other hand, regular diarrhea can be caused by various things, such as eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, or having a virus or infection.
Traveler Diarrhea’s Symptoms
Traveler’s diarrhea often causes symptoms such as watery and loose stools, abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. In some cases, it can also lead to dehydration. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention.
How to Prevent Traveler’s Diarrhea
There are a few things that you can do to help prevent traveler’s diarrhea:
- Avoid drinking tap water unless it has been boiled or filtered.
- Only eat food that has been cooked properly and is still hot.
- Avoid raw fruits and vegetables unless they have been peeled or washed thoroughly.
- Avoid eating street food or food from vendors.
What to Do If Sick with Traveler’s Diarrhea?
If you are experiencing any symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea, it is essential to seek medical attention. There are a few things that you can do to help relieve your symptoms until you can get to a doctor. These include:
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to stay hydrated.
- Eat bland foods such as rice, toast, or boiled chicken.
- Take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help relieve pain and fever.
- Seek medical attention if your symptoms do not improve, or you develop signs of dehydration, such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or dry mouth.
Treatment for traveler’s diarrhea will depend on the cause of your illness. Antibiotics or antiviral medications may be prescribed if it is caused by a bacteria, virus, or parasite. If you are dehydrated, you may need to be hospitalized and fluids intravenously.
Foods to Avoid When you Have Traveler’s Diarrhea
If you are experiencing symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea, it is essential to avoid certain foods until you have recovered. These include:
- Raw fruits and vegetables, unless they have been peeled or washed thoroughly.
- Street food or food from vendors.
- Foods that have not been cooked properly.
- Drinking unboiled tap water.
Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling
When you are traveling, it is essential to be aware of the risks of traveler’s diarrhea and how you can prevent it. In addition to following the tips mentioned above, you can also take the following precautions to help stay healthy while traveling:
- Pack a travel-sized kit of toiletries, including soap, shampoo, and towels.
- Pack snacks and drinks, especially if you will be traveling for an extended period.
- Avoid touching your face with your hands.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water.
- Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables unless they have been peeled or washed thoroughly.
- Avoid drinking unboiled tap water.
- If you are sick, stay away from other people as much as possible.
- Seek medical attention if you develop any symptoms that are concerning.
Diarrhea is a common problem that can affect anyone. Still, traveler’s diarrhea is a specific type caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water while traveling. Symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Treating traveler’s diarrhea includes rest, fluids, and antibiotics if necessary. It is essential to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and get medical help if symptoms worsen.