Prevention of Traveler’s Diarrhea

Traveler’s diarrhea is a frequently encountered intestinal condition that occurs when a visitor to a third world country ingests food or water infected with a micro-organism that the traveler does not have an immunity to.  The condition is characterized by at least three loose stools per day, and is often accompanied by abdominal cramps, fever and/or vomiting.  Bloody diarrhea sometimes can develop. Treatment is with antibiotics and/or Imodium, depending on the severity, as well as with aggressive hydration using electrolyte-rich fluids.  However, as discussed in How to Decrease the Risk of Infection While Traveling Abroad, prevention of this common malady is key.  The following short list of practical tips can decrease you chance of developing this miserable, vacation-ruining condition:

  1. Don’t drink, use ice from or brush your teeth with tap water.  If you must, however, boil the water for at least one minute, or three minutes at higher altitudes (elevations of 6,000 feet or higher)
  2. Try to drink bottled water that is sealed
  3. Don’t drink milk or eat dairy products that have not been pasteurized
  4. Don’t eat raw fruit or vegetables unless you can peel them
  5. Don’t eat cut up fruit salad
  6. Don’t eat lettuce or raw leafy vegetables
  7. Don’t eat raw or rare meat

If you are a patient of North Idaho Direct Primary Care and think you may have returned from abroad with Traveler’s Diarrhea, give us a call to schedule an appointment.  If you are not a member of North Idaho Direct Primary Care and are interested in learning about our practice, click here to read more.  If you found this article helpful and would like to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, click here to contact us and enroll.

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