Most cases of traveler’s diarrhea usually last for 3-7 days, enough to ruin any vacation. A person may become dehydrated, after losing a significant amount of liquids from vomiting or diarrhea.
Traveler’s diarrhea is commonly caused by the Escherichia coli bacteria or E-Coli, and this bacteria has been known to cause conditions like vomiting and diarrhea. This bacteria can be encountered by consuming some form of contaminated food or water.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests only eating foods that have been cooked and served hot. Avoid foods that have been sitting out for a long time, such as buffets.
Common colloquial names for traveler’s diarrhea include Stomach Flu, Delhi Belly, Rangoon Runs, Tourist, The Runs, The Trots, or Montezuma’s Revenge. Traveler’s diarrhea is a common occurrence in many high-risk areas. These areas include Mexico, South America, parts of Asia, and Africa.
Other common causes of traveler’s diarrhea are bacterial pathogens, such as Campylobacter, Shigella, or Salmonella. These are all bacteria that can be found in the drinking water in many of these high-risk areas. Fruits and vegetables are often washed with this same water. Viral and parasitic agents may also cause traveler’s diarrhea, but they are less common.
According to the World Health Organization, health risks associated with travel are greater for certain types of travelers, including:
For all sufferers, rehydration is the best and most important aspect of managing travel dehydration. When suffering from traveler’s diarrhea, anti-diarrhea medication does NOT replace lost fluid and electrolytes and only provides symptomatic relief.
In order to replenish those key electrolytes, you need an oral rehydration solution (Hydralyte). In addition to taking Hydralyte or any ORS, patients should also consider the following steps:
Important: You cannot give anti-diarrhea medication to children under 12 years of age.
Learn more about managing dehydration associated with vomiting and diarrhea.
Tips to Avoid Traveler’s Diarrhea