Ways to Fight Diarrhea while Travelling

Having Diarrhea is the one of the most awful issues to have while travelling. It can knock off days from your travel. Diarrhea is pretty common among travelers and it is estimated that 30 percent will develop diarrhea. The percentage is higher in South East Asia because of the extreme dietary change especially for travelers coming from Western countries.  

Hello 2009 by Evil Erin, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by Evil Erin

Causes of Diarrhea:

  1. Drastic change in Diet
  2. Exposure to Viruses
  3. Ingesting Bacterial Contaminants in Food

Contributing factors:

  • Stress of Time Zones Change
  • Sleeping Patterns

Best way to prepare for Diarrhea:

If you occasionally suffer from Diarrhea when travelling, it is best to consult with a doctor before the trip. The doctor will determine if antibiotics is needed depending if you are travelling to rural areas or areas with known outbreaks.

It is recommended to bring Imodium or Pepto Bismol. These 2 items are known as antimotility medicines which help decrease the amount of times you will be heading to the bathroom. It works by decreasing the movement of infectious food items. Important* Anitmotility medicines are not recommended for children.

Preventing Diarrhea

Make it habit to wash your and your children hands (Handrails, public computers, and doorknobs are notorious for harvesting bacteria)

Use soap when washing hands. Anti bacterial soap is ok to use, but understand they are not good for long term use for humans. Using soap and water help wipe bacteria off our hands where anti-bacterial soap kills it. There have been studies where overuse of antibacterial soaps/gel is actually increasing the immunity of bacteria.

Street Food

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Street kitchen in Saigon Ho Chi Minh City
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by epicxero Street Market equals Cheap and Delicious Foods

Places like Thailand or Vietnam have the best street food in the World.  Upon arrival it is best to minimize the intake of street food for the first few days.  In other words it is best to slowly introduce the local foods to your diet.  If you are going to grab food from a street vendor, the only recommendation in the beginning is to find a vendor that has a busy lineup mixed with locals and travellers. After few days you can be more adventurous in choosing a food cart.

Treating Diarrhea

If your child is suffering from Diarrhea, a dangerous onset is dehydration. The young child will lose a lot of water so it is crucial to give him/her lots of water. It is recommended to drink a liquid combination of water, minerals, and glucose such as Pedialyte packets manufactured by Abbott Laboratories. You simply add the packets to water. You can purchase a bottle flavored version as well.

diarrhoea travelling

For adults, drinking lots of water is key because of the loss of minerals(sodium and potassium) and liquid. You can also try eating salted soda crackers for its minerals. Avoid Gatorade, Jello and non-diet colas as they contain high glucose which decreases the intake of the minerals.

You can then slowly adding solid food after rehydration. Good foods to start the recovery with are Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. (AKA BRAT Diet)

If an onset of a fever hits over 102 f and you still have watery stool for over 24 hours, then get yourself to a doctor!

healthy travel

Source:  Healthy Travel with Children