food contamination

Traveller’s diarrhoea is one of the most common afflictions facing travellers, and is defined as passing three or more loose/watery bowel motions within 24 hours.[1] The condition affects as many as 20% of people travelling to high-risk destinations.[2]

But there are things you can do to reduce your chances of developing TD, and to ease the condition if you do fall victim to it.

Preventing Traveller’s Diarrhoea

High risk areas for TD include Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and many parts of Asia. Areas that carry an intermediate risk include southern Europe, Israel, South Africa and some Caribbean and Pacific Islands.[3]

When travelling to any of these areas, it’s important to take precautions in order to reduce your chances of developing TD.

Wash your hands

Washing your hands frequently is one of the simplest ways to stop the spread of germs and infection. Take the time to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water, or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Do this after using the bathroom and before and after eating.

Be careful what you eat and drink

Contaminated food and drink are a major factor in the spread of TD, so take care to stick to a safe diet and habits. This includes:

Eating food that is cooked and served hot

Eating fruit and vegetables you have washed and peeled yourself

Consuming only pasteurised dairy products

Avoiding food served at room temperature, as well as food from street venders and raw or undercooked meat or fish

Drinking bottled water that is sealed and avoiding tap water

This also relates to swimming, as you’re advised to take care not to ingest pool water while using the pool.[4]

Home Remedies for Traveller’s Diarrhoea

As well as producing frequent loose stools, TD can also lead to symptoms such as cramping, pain, nausea, temperature, weakness and general discomfort.[5]

Thankfully, there are ways to deal with the condition effectively, whether your TD is mild, moderate or severe.

Mild TD

Dehydration is one of the most dangerous aspects of any form of diarrhoea, so however severe your TD is, you should drink plenty of fluids. Consuming small quantities of easily digestible foods like rice and bananas can also help to aid gut recovery in those with TD.[6]

In milder cases, over the counter medication like Imodium may help.

Moderate TD

Again, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. You can also use oral rehydration salts mixed with clean water in order to reduce the discomfort caused by your TD.

Again, over the counter medications may be helpful, but you may find prescribed treatment to be necessary.

Severe TD

Try to stay as hydrated as possible, but seek medical support if you can’t stomach fluids. Oral rehydration powders can be diluted into clean drinking water and are useful for addressing the electrolyte imbalances caused by severe TD. However, if oral rehydration powders aren’t available, a salt and sugar solution (six level teaspoons of sugar and one level teaspoon of salt to a litre of water) can be used.[7]

In more severe cases of TD, prescription anti-traveller’s diarrhoea medication can help to alleviate symptoms as quickly as possible.

Medication for Traveller’s Diarrhoea

In many cases of TD, medication can help to alleviate symptoms and reduce the discomfort associated with the condition. In fact, a short course of medication can help to reduce the duration of an upset stomach by as much as 50%, reducing the severity of the symptoms at the same time.[8]

Treatments like Ciprofloxacin and Azithromycin are among the leading medications designed to treat cases of traveller’s diarrhoea. In fact, Public Health England recommends having azithromycin on stand-by when travelling to areas considered to carry high risks of TD.[9]

You can find safe and effective traveller’s diarrhoea medication right here at Express Pharmacy. And if you have any concerns about your health, don’t hesitate to contact our pharmacists by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] Fit For Travel. Traveller’s Diarrhoea. NHS UK. 2017

[2] Travel Health Pro. Traveller’s Diarrhoea. 2019

[3] National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Diarrhoea — prevention and advice for travellers. 2019

[4] World Health Organisation. Guidelines for safe recreational water environments: volume 2, swimming pools and similar environments. 2006

[5] Better Health Gov. Traveller’s diarrhoea. 2017

[6] DuPont, HL., Ericsson, CD., Farthing, MJG. et al. Expert review of the evidence base for self-therapy of traveller’s diarrhoea. Journal of Travel Medicine. 2009

[7] World Health Organisation. WHO position paper on Oral Rehydration Salts to reduce mortality from cholera. 2019

[8] British Medical Journal. Traveller’s diarrhoea. 2016

[9] National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, Public Health England. Summary of antimicrobial prescribing guidance — managing common infections. 2019