Travel tips

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TRAVEL TIPS

  • Person traveling in areas with poor sanitation can get diarrhea by eating or drinking contaminated food or beverages.
  • It affects male and females equally but is slightly more common in young adults than older people.
  • Areas with highest risk of poor sanitation include underdeveloped and developing countries of Asia, Africa, middle East and Latin America.

Symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Urgency to pass stools.
  • Malaise (weakness or discomfort)

Travelers Diarrhea usually lasts 3-7 days and resolves itself.

Treatment :- It is better to consult a physician rather than attempting to self-medicate especially for pregnant women and children.

  • Replacement of fluids and salts by ORS is the mainstay of treatment.
    • Packets of ORS are available at stores or pharmacists in almost all developing countries.
    • ORS is prepared by adding whole contents of the packet to required amount of safe water.
    • ORS should be discarded and prepared fresh if not consumed within 24 hours.
  • Antidiarrheal medicines can decrease number of diarrheal stools but cause complications specially in patients having fever or blood in stools
  • Antibiotics
    [antimicrobial drugs] (require a prescription) may shorten the length of illness.

Protection

Water

  • Only beverages safe to drink in areas with poor sanitation are:
    • Boiled water
    • Hot tea and coffee made with boiled water
    • Canned or bottled carbonated beverages
  • Ice may be made from unsafe water and is better avoided.
  • Travelers should avoid brushing their teeth with tap water in areas with poor sanitation facilities.
  • Water can be made safer by
    • Boiling
    • Chemical disinfection by iodine or chlorine tablets
    • Portable water filters are not advised as their efficacy is not proven.
  • As a last resort, if no source of safe drinking water is available, tap water that is uncomfortably hot to touch may be safer than cold water.

Food

  • Any raw food could be contaminated. Therefore avoid salads, uncooked vegetables and fruits, unpasteurized milk and dairy products, raw meat and shell fish.
  • Food that has been cooked and is still hot is usually safe.

Some fish (barracuda, puffer, red snapper) is not safe even when cooked because of the presence of toxins in its flesh and therefore advised to be avoided.