Travellers' Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea can upset your rhythm, especially when you are on holiday.

Diarrhoea is the most common health condition suffered by British tourists when abroad. Depending on destination it can affect 20% to 60% of travellers, with a greater risk if you are visiting a hot country or a somewhere with poor sanitation. To help avoid Travellers’ diarrhoea, read on.

Causes of Travellers’ Diarrhoea

The most common cause of Travellers’ diarrhoea is eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water, causing a bacterial infection. When you go abroad, you’re also exposed to new types of bacteria that can affect your body. You can also experience diarrhoea when abroad from eating unfamiliar rich and spicy foods, or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.

How to treat it

There are a few things you can do if you get diarrhoea. Health experts recommend the following:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, or try an oral hydration sachet
  • Try not to drink fizzy drinks, rich or spicy foods
  • As your appetite increases, eat simple baked foods
  • Take an anti-diarrhoeal treatment
  • Contact a doctor if your symptoms last longer than 48 hours, you develop a temperature of over 38°C or have blood or mucus in your stool
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Preventing Travellers’ Diarrhoea

Eating contaminated food and drinking contaminated water are the two most common causes of Travellers’ diarrhoea. So here are some tips on how to avoid them.

Top tips to avoid drinking contaminated water:

  • Instead of using tap water to drink or to brush your teeth, try bottled water
  • Avoid drinks topped up with ice cubes made from tap water
  • Drinking bottled or canned beverages shouldn’t a problem
  • If you’re going swimming, try not to swallow any water

Top tips to avoid eating contaminated food:

  • Try to make sure your food has been cooked properly
  • Don’t leave food lying around on tables or sideboards
  • Wash your hands with soap before eating
  • Try to avoid raw foods washed in tap water
  • Try to avoid uncooked meats or seafood
  • Try to avoid food from street vendors