Traveler’s diarrhea is a disorder of the stomach occurring from the intake of contaminated foods while traveling to places having different climatic conditions. The condition is usually not serious and may not need any treatment. Visiting places with different climates may put you at risk of having an infection. Therefore, it is advised to take medications approved by your doctor when you travel.
What are the Symptoms of Traveler’s Diarrhea?
Traveler’s diarrhea is very common as your stomach may not adjust to a different environment as soon as you need. Planning a trip may sometimes cause trouble as you reach your destination as you suffer from a bad stomach. You should, therefore, take note of the common symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea to have the right treatment and precautions needed. Some of the most common signs include passing three or more than three stools a day, urgent need to pass stool, abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and fever.
Sometimes, the signs of traveler’s diarrhea may get serious as the condition persists for longer than usual. Experiencing bloody stools, high fever, and severe pain in the abdomen are all signs which should not be ignored.
Causes of Traveler’s Diarrhea
Traveler’s diarrhea is very common and may result from stress and dietary changes. However, diarrhea is usually caused by infectious bacteria and virus which is developed in the body through the intake of contaminated foods and drinks. Usually, people living in areas with contaminated foods and drinks are accustomed to immune systems. The bacteria do not affect them the same way it may affect your body when you visit those places.
Are there any Risk Factors of Traveler’s Diarrhea?
International travelers are continuously reported having diarrhea throughout the year. Although the risk cannot be always reduced, travelers should note the destinations with high risk for traveler’s diarrhea. Risky places include South America, Central America, Mexico, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
The risk factors for developing traveler’s diarrhea are young age, weak immune systems, diabetic people, people having bowel or liver disease, people taking antacids, and certain climatic seasons. Hot weather increases the risk of suffering from diarrhea. This puts some parts of the world in the danger zone.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Severe symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea should never be ignored particularly if the condition persists for days. Experiencing pain and discomfort from diarrhea for days is not a good sign and should be treated to prevent further weakness. Dehydration can be severe if the diarrhea is prolonged as the body loses all water through stools.
A doctor may be able to treat the condition with medication that will fight off bacteria. Usually, diarrhea should be treated if it goes beyond two days. Any pain in the abdomen should also not be tolerated as you may complicate the condition further. Moreover, fever should also be reported to a doctor in case you have diarrhea as it may be a sign that your body needs additional treatment.
Children have weaker immune systems and may need treatment sooner. They may also suffer from vomiting and dry mouth. Unresponsive behavior should also not be ignored as the child may need immediate treatment in such cases.
How to Prevent Diarrhea While Travelling?
It is possible to prevent diarrhea when you visit a new place by following some rules. You should be careful in what you eat. Either boil or cook what you are eating to kill the bacteria. Also, foods sold by street vendors can be contaminated with germs and are therefore best to avoid. Raw and undercooked meat should also be avoided to stay safe. Dairy products, particularly ice cream, should also be avoided.
Vegetables and fruits are the best choices for keeping your immune system safe from bacteria. Peel them yourself to assure they are free from bacteria. Take care of water intake as contaminated water is the source of diarrhea in most cases.