Travellers Diarrhoea

Travel Health Information about Travellers Diarrhoea

Travellers Diarrhoea is sometimes overlooked. Most of us are well aware we need to have vaccinations against a range of diseases before we travel, but it’s quite likely that anyone heading for countries including Thailand, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Kenya and Brazil will become ill with travellers diarrhoea at some point, ranging from mild to severe.

Don’t drink tap water

The most common travellers diarrhoea bacterial infection is salmonella shigella. To reduce the risk, you need to avoid local tap water.

This includes anything that could have been in contact with tap water, like uncooked, washed fruit and vegetables and even ice cubes, which you would usually put in drinks at home. It even includes not cleaning your teeth in tap water.

It might help to make a list, before you go, of all the circumstances in which you will come across tap water, to help you avoid being caught out.

Drink bottled water

You need to be making sure you are properly hydrated, drinking around two litres of water a day. Stick to bottled water and avoid drinking tap water. The more hydrated you are, the less severe the travellers diarrhoea is likely to be, simply because you won’t be so dehydrated when you start losing fluids.

Take oral rehydration salts

It’s wise to take oral rehydration salts with you. An alternative to this is flat Coca-Cola; take all of the fizz out of the Coca-Cola and you’re left with useful sugars and salts.

Use alcohol gel

Use alcohol gel to keep your hands clean and wash them frequently. You might also want to have some Imodium handy.

Take travellers diarrhoea medication

If you have a case of travellers diarrhoea so bad you can’t leave the bathroom, you need ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic that will help kill many common gut bacterial infections.

If you just have a mild case and are still able to sightsee and go shopping, you don’t need ciprofloxacin.

How to treat moderate travellers diarrhoea

  • Take three tablets of ciprofloxacin a day for three days
  • Hydrate yourself at all times
  • Don’t eat anything for 24-48 hours, to help your body get rid of the infection
  • If, after a three-day course of ciprofloxacin, you are not any better, see a doctor

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