Traveller’s Diarrhoea: Everything You Need to Know

Traveller’s Diarrhoea can put a serious damper on your travels. Digestive upsets are the most common travel-related illnesses. Although it’s not inevitable that you will get travellers diarrhoea while travelling, it can be quite common in some developing countries no matter how hard you try to avoid it.  

The best advice to follow is to eat and drink as healthily as possible in places that are clean and follow good hygiene practices.  

Here is everything you need to know about Traveller’s Diarrhoea! 

  What is Traveller’s Diarrhoea? 

Traveller’s Diarrhoea is a digestive tract disorder that commonly causes loose stools, abdominal cramps, and sometimes fever. It’s caused by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Fortunately, traveller’s Diarrhoea usually isn’t serious in most people — it’s just unpleasant 

  How Do You Get Traveller’s Diarrhoea? 

Unhygienic food preparation practices and contaminated water is the most common cause of travellers’ diarrhoea. Basically, you get diarrhoea by eating other people’s faeces through contaminated food, water, and eating utensils. Hands used to prepare food may not have been washed thoroughly after using the toilet. And, in dusty, urban areas, tonnes of dry faecal matter floats around in the air, and this can land on food left sitting around. 

  Who Gets Traveller’s Diarrhoea? 

If you’re roughing it and eating from small stalls and restaurants where hygiene is more likely to be a problem (especially in developing countries), you’re more likely to catch something. Also, if you are away on a long trip, there’s a higher chance you will get ill at some stage. 

  Symptoms of Traveller’s Diarrhoea 

The illness usually involves up to six episodes of loose faeces a day. If you get a fever with it, it’s usually low (less than 38°C). Nausea and vomiting are common, as well as stomach cramps, bloating and frequent gas are also common. The illness generally resolves itself in around 3-5 days. The most important treatment is to avoid dehydration by drinking lots of water with electrolytes. 

  How to Treat Traveller’s Diarrhoea 

No specific treatment is needed as a rule. However, anti-diarrhoea medication such as Pepto Bismol or Imodium can be helpful. If symptoms continue or worsen and you develop a fever, you should seek medical attention as you may need antibiotics.  

  If you are travelling to a developing country where travellers’ diarrhoea may be more common, it’s a good idea to visit our Miles Pharmacy Travel Clinic in Epsom prior to travelling. Consult with our travel specialists to get travel advice and make sure you are up to date on vaccinations that might be required for the country you will be visiting. You can get all your travel vaccinations in Epsom at our travel clinic.