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What’s Traveler’s Diarrhea and How to Prevent It

Travelers’ diarrhea is actually a gastrointestinal illness that can occur in travelers and it’s caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria or parasites. This type of diarrhea is accompanied by nausea, stomach cramps, bloating and it’s developed in 20-50% of travelers. Traveler’s diarrhea affects 10 million people each year and hit mainly travelers who travel to Africa, Latin America the Middle East, and Asia.


Both men and women are at risk of getting traveler’s diarrhea. People that have immune system disorders, people with diabetes and people with abdominal disorders are at bigger risk of getting traveler’s diarrhea.

What causes traveler’s diarrhea?

Traveler’s diarrhea is caused by eating and drinking contaminated food and water. 80% of the traveler’s diarrhea is caused by bacteria such as E. coli. Although most E. coli are harmless, some classes of E. coli can cause inflammation of the bowels and stomach. Other bacteria that cause traveler’s diarrhea are Campylobacter jejuni, Shigella, and Salmonella.

How to prevent traveler’s diarrhea?

You need to make pay extra attention to food you eat since it’s the major source for infection. Uncooked meat, raw vegetable and seafood must be avoided. Other high-risk foods are dairy products and tap water.
Products that are safe are carbonated beverages, beer and wine, hot tea and coffee and fruits that can be peeled.

We strongly advise you to wash your hands with soap and clean water to prevent the bacteria from spreading.
Some antibiotics are effective in treating this type of diarrhea, but you need to be careful when using them because they have some side effects.

Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) is also effective for treating traveler’s diarrhea, but it’s not recommended for people allergic to aspirin.

Probiotics are also good, especially Lactobacillus, in preventing traveler’s diarrhea.