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Travellers Diarrhoea: The Symptoms and Causes

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Amazing experiences are always around the corner when you travel to a foreign country. From the interesting people and incredible views right through to exotic foods and drinks; there’s always something remarkable to discover. However, with foreign experiences comes foreign reactions - typically in the form of travellers diarrhoea.

This guide will take you through the symptoms and causes of travellers diarrhoea so that you can feel fully prepared in the unfortunate situation of experiencing it.

What Is Travellers Diarrhoea?

If you find yourself asking: ‘is it normal to have diarrhoea when travelling?’, then we’re guessing you’ve encountered an incredibly uncomfortable situation that is stopping you from enjoying yourself. And, unfortunately, the answer is yes: it is normal to have diarrhoea when travelling. It goes by the name of Travellers Diarrhoea.

While it’s not a serious condition, travellers' diarrhoea can leave you with incredibly loose stools and, occasionally, abdominal cramps. You are likely to develop it when your body isn’t used to the change in climate or sanitisation that the country you’re visiting has to offer.

Symptoms Of Travellers Diarrhoea

The symptoms of travellers' diarrhoea are fairly obvious, making it easy to establish why you might have fallen ill. The following symptoms typically last for 1 to 2 days and will either occur while on your trip or soon after you get home:

  • Having to pass loose stools 3+ times a day
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Constant feeling of needing the toilet

In more severe cases, some people experience:

  • Vomiting
  • High fever
  • Nausea
  • Bloody stools

If you seem to be experiencing severe symptoms and they don’t ease off after a few days, it is recommended to visit your doctor for further assistance.

Causes Of Travellers Diarrhoea

As mentioned previously, travellers' diarrhoea is caused when your body isn’t used to the climate or sanitary conditions in another country. In most cases, you will develop travellers' diarrhoea when consuming contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

While the idea of putting contaminated food and water into your body might seem like a scary thought, this is not a life or death situation and your body will recover. Travellers diarrhoea is an unpleasant experience, but not a damaging one.

How To Prevent Travellers Diarrhoea

It’s not easy to know whether you’re putting contaminated foods into your body, but luckily, there are many ways to prevent travellers' diarrhoea. The following tips are important to keep in mind so that you can enjoy your trip without any distractions.

Don’t Drink Tap Water: It’s all too easy to drink tap water when you need hydrating, but such a simple action can result in the dreaded traveller’s diarrhoea. Instead of drinking unsterilised water, drink from bottles instead. Make sure that you don’t consume any water when showering, either. If you can’t access bottled water, be sure to boil the tap water for 3 minutes before consuming. This will help to kill off any bacteria.

Say No To Ice: Ice is often made out of unsterilised water, meaning it should be avoided at all costs. Get into the habit of asking for drinks without ice when abroad.

Think About Your Food: As tempting as it may be, avoid buying food from street vendors. The food given at these vendors has often been sitting around for long periods of time, making them a feeding ground for bacteria. Instead, only eat hot foods that are served from reputable sources. If you are cooking your food yourself, stick to things that you can peel and boil.

Pack Tablets: Travellers diarrhoea can sometimes be unavoidable, making it all the more important to pack medication that will treat it as quickly as possible. The most popular travellers' diarrhoea treatments are Ciprofloxacin and Azithromycin; both as to which are available at Express Pharmacy.