What is travelers diarrhea?
Travelers diarrhea is a sudden water-thin stool often accompanied by abdominal cramps and in some cases vomiting and fever. Travelers diarrhea can cause a person to dehydrate quickly, which can become dangerous fast, especially for children. If a child has a fever or suffers from diarrhoea or vomiting for more than a day, it is recommended to consult a doctor.
Travelers diarrhea generally passes on its own. To compensate for the fluids a person loses, it is important to drink well. In addition, a salt-sugar solution such as ORS can help retain fluids. If the watery diarrhoea is bothersome, a stopping agent (loperamide) can be used for up to three days.
How do you get travelers diarrhea?
Travelers diarrhea is caused by bacteria that enter the body through contaminated food and drink. About a third of travellers to (sub)tropical regions suffer from travelers diarrhea at some point during their trip.
What can you do to prevent travelers diarrhea?
Completely preventing travelers diarrhea is almost impossible. To reduce the risk of travelers diarrhea, you can take the following precautions:
- Use bottled water and do not use tap water.
- Only drink from factory-sealed bottles or cans you open yourself or that are opened in your presence and do not use ice cubes. Drink only hot drinks made from boiled water such as tea or coffee.
- Eat only fried or cooked food and preferably do not eat raw vegetables or salads. If you eat fruit, wash or peel it yourself. If lettuce or fruit is washed in contaminated water, this can also cause diarrhea.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and do not use the towel hanging in a restaurant. Let your hands dry in the air.