Traveler’s diarrhea is a digestive tract issue that commonly causes loose stools and abdominal cramps with pain. It is caused by eating polluted food or drinking contaminated water. The traveler’s diarrhea usually is not serious and is just unpleasant. When you go to a place where the climate or sanitary practices are changing from yours at home, you have a raised risk of developing traveler’s diarrhea. To limit your risk of traveler’s diarrhea, be careful about what you eat and drink while traveling. If you do develop traveler’s diarrhea, chances are it will cure without treatment. It is better to take prescribed medications with you when you are about to travel to high-risk areas.
Symptoms of Travelers Diarrhea
Traveler’s diarrhea usually begins suddenly during your trip or shortly after you return home. Most cases improve within few days without treatment and recover completely within a week. Here are the most seen signs and symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea which includes sudden onset of the passage of three or more than three loose stools a day, an urge to defecate, abdominal cramps, or pain, nausea feelings, vomiting, fever. Sometimes, people experience less to severe dehydration, constant vomiting, a high fever, bloody stools, or bad pain in the abdomen or rectum.
Causes of Travelers Diarrhea
Traveler’s diarrhea may cause by the stress of traveling or a change in diet. But normally an infectious agent can cause it including different bacteria, viruses and parasites are to blame. You are normally to develop traveler’s diarrhea after ingesting food or water that is contaminated with organisms from feces.
Risk Factors of Travelers Diarrhea
But many groups of people have a greater risk of developing the problem. These include:
- Young Adults
The condition is seen to be more common in young adult tourists. Though the reasons why are not clear, it is possible that young adults have less acquired immunity. They may also be a riskier population than older people in their travels and dietary choices, or they may be less vigilant in avoiding contaminated foods.
- Weak Immune Systems, Diabetes, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Liver Cirrhosis
A weakened immune system raises the chances of infections. These conditions can leave you more susceptible to infection or raise your risk of a more severe infection.
- Acid Blockers or Antacids
The acid in the stomach tends to destruct organisms, so a decline in stomach acid may leave more opportunity for bacterial survival.
Complications of Travelers Diarrhea
Because you lose essential fluids, salts, and minerals during a phase with a traveler’s diarrhea, you may become dehydrated. Dehydration is especially harmful to children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. Dehydration that is caused by diarrhea can cause serious problems, including organ damage, shock, or coma. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include a very dry mouth, sudden thirst, little or no urination, and extreme weakness.
- Watch Before Intake
The normal usual rule of thumb when traveling to another country is to boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it. Other tips that may help to decline your risk of getting sick is that you do not consume food from a street salesperson. Avoid dairy products, including ice cream, puddings. Avoid raw meat, fish, Steer clear of the moist meal at room temperature, such as sauces. Eat foods that are well cooked not raw and served hot, Get the fruits and vegetables that you can peel yourself, such as bananas, oranges, and avocados. Stay away from salads and fruits you cannot peel, such as grapes and berries. Be aware that alcohol in a drink will not keep you safe from polluted water or ice.
Do Not Drink Tap Water
Do not drink sterilized water from the tap, or from well. If you need to drink the local water, boil it for few minutes, avoid locally made ice cubes or mixed fruit juices made with unhygienic water or tap water, beware of sliced fruit that may have been cleaned in contaminated water, do not do swimming in water that may be polluted, keep your mouth closed while showering, use bottled water to brush your teeth, use boiled water for baby formula, order hot drinks, such as coffee or tea, and make sure they are steaming hot. Water can also be disinfected through iodine or chlorine. Iodine calls to be more effective, but is best reserved for short traveling’s, excess iodine can be harmful to your system.
Some Additional Tips
Here are other ways to limits your risk of traveler’s diarrhea: Make sure dishes and utensils are clean and washes properly, dry before using them and must wash your hands and clean them often and always before eating, Check food items that require little handling in preparation.
Other Preventive Measures
Public health experts usually do not recommend taking antibiotics to avoid traveler’s diarrhea, because doing so can contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotics give no protection against viruses and parasites, but they can give travelers a false sense of security about the risks of taking local foods and drinks. They can also cause unpleasant bad effects, such as skin rashes and redness, skin reactions to the sun, and vaginal yeast infections. As a preventive measure, some doctors recommend taking bismuth subsalicylate, which has been shown to decline the likelihood of diarrhea. But do not take this medication for longer than three weeks, and do not take it at all if you are pregnant or allergic to aspirin. Consult your doctor before taking bismuth subsalicylate if you are taking ay medications, such as anticoagulants. Common harmless side effects of bismuth subsalicylate include a dark tongue and black stools. In some cases, it can cause constipation, nausea and, ringing in your ears.
When to Consult Doctor
Traveler’s diarrhea normally goes away on its own within many days. Signs and symptoms may last for long period and be more severe if the condition is caused by organisms other than common bacteria. In such cases, you may need prescribed medications to help you get a cure.
If you are an adult, you should see your doctor if:
- Your diarrhea that lasts beyond two days
- You become dehydrated
- You have bad abdominal or rectal pain
- You have bloody or dark stools
- You have a fever above 39 C
Take special caution with children because traveler’s diarrhea can cause high-level dehydration in a short time. Seek the help of a doctor if your child is sick and showing any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Constant vomiting
- A fever of 39 C
- Blood in stools or severe diarrhea
- Dry mouth or dry eyes
- Signs of being unusually sleepy, drowsy, or unresponsive
- Decline in the volume of urine