What Is Travellers’ Diarrhoea?
Travellers’ diarrhoea, often known as food poisoning, is commonly suffered by tourists and people travelling abroad in countries where water isn’t always safe to drink and food hygiene standards may not be as thorough as they should be.
Areas where travellers’ diarrhoea may be an issue include parts of Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.
What are the symptoms of Travellers’ Diarrhoea?
Anyone travelling abroad to one of the countries above who experiences multiple loose bowel movements over the course of 24 hours is considered to have travellers’ diarrhea. Typically, it would be 3 or more bowel movements, but rarely people can experience as many as 10. These bowel movements may be accompanied by stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting. On average, symptoms last for 3-5 days.
What causes Travellers’ Diarrhoea?
This kind of sickness and diarrhoea typically arises from eating food that hasn’t been prepared or cooked properly or drinking water that’s not safe to drink. Bacteria, parasites and other organisms such as E. Coli, salmonella, campylobacter, shigella, giardia and cryptosporidium may remain in food and drinks and cause infections in the stomach and intestines.
People with a weakened immune system are more susceptible to travellers’ diarrhoea, so if you are undergoing chemotherapy or have HIV, for example, you should be extra careful with what you eat and drink when travelling.
How can you treat Travellers’ Diarrhoea?
Traveller’s diarrhoea can resolve itself after a few days, but otherwise medicine for diarrhoea is the best way to treat this illness. Examples of diarrhoea tablets include loperamide and diphenoxylate plus atropine. This medication is not suitable for under-12s unless specifically advised. For severe diarrhoea, antibiotics may be necessary. Antibiotics for diarrhoea include Azithromycin, which is the preferred antibiotic for travellers in south and southeast Asia, and Ciprofloxacin which is ideal for all other countries.
If you experience travellers’ diarrhoea, remember to drink lots of water to prevent dehydration. This should be sealed bottled water to ensure it is safe for drinking and won’t make your diarrhoea symptoms worse.
What can you do to help prevent Travellers’ Diarrhoea?
There are a number of things you can do to help prevent travellers’ diarrhea. Wash your hand thoroughly before preparing food, before eating, and after using the toilet. Only drink sealed bottled water, and use this when you brush your teeth too. Only eat foods that have been well cooked and are very hot, and avoid eating salads, uncooked fruits and vegetables, unpasteurised dairy products, and raw meat and shellfish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I buy antibiotics online for travellers’ diarrhoea?
Here at Instant eCare, we sell two kinds of antibiotics for travellers’ diarrhoea. Azithromycin is recommended for people travelling to south or southeast Asia, whereas Ciprofloxacin is ideal for all countries except south and southeast Asia.