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Travel Diarrhoea Symptoms

Travel diarrhoea, also known as traveller's diarrhoea, is an extremely common ailment that affects people travelling abroad. This happens in particular to people who travel from colder countries into warmer countries where different types of bacteria tend to thrive or countries where sanitation standards are quite low.

It's normally not serious and can last between two to three days as it's a self-limiting infection, however it can last for longer in particular if the infection is caused by a virus or parasite.

Travel Diarrhoea Map

Risk level: High Intermediate Low

What causes it?

Traveller's diarrhoea mostly develops as a result of exposure to certain types of bacteria, but it can also be caused by viruses and parasites, although this is much rarer.

Things that could increase your risk of getting travel diarrhoea symptoms is eating fresh fruit and vegetables, drinking tap water, eating meats that have not been thoroughly cooked and eating shell fish or fish in a country where traveller's diarrhoea is a high risk.

Consuming the following in a high-risk diarrhoea area can increase your risk of falling ill:

Fish, shell fish or meat that's not been cooked properly
Contaminated tap water
Uncooked fruit or vegetables

Traveller's diarrhoea is not just a problem in countries where it's considered a risk because of sanitation or food preparation practices, but it can happen anywhere, simply because you just aren't used to the different types of bacteria that natives might be perfectly used to.

What are the different travel diarrhoea symptoms?

Travel diarrhoea symptoms are very distinct. You might have it if you start passing more than three loose stools within a 24 hour period, you have a fever, vomit and have abdominal cramps. These travel diarrhoea symptoms usually don't last for more than three days, but they can be extremely uncomfortable, in which case you may want to take something to help ease the worst travel diarrhoea symptoms.

Usual More Serious
Three or more loose stools within a 24 hour period
Abdominal cramps
Blood in stools

If you experience any more serious travel diarrhoea symptoms such as blood in your stools or your symptoms persist, you should consider getting help straight away as this might be an indication of a more persistent or serious infection.

Can traveller’s diarrhoea lead to complications?

One of the main complications of travel diarrhoea symptoms is dehydration, which is why it’s important to take steps to avoid it from happening, such as taking hydration agents or trying to slow down bowel movements.

Treatment for travel diarrhoea symptoms

Treatment for traveller’s diarrhoea can involve medications that provide symptomatic relief and deal with the actual cause of the diarrhoea, such as the bacteria or virus.

You may be recommended a product such as Imodium to help slow down the digestion of food, which can help prevent dehydration and also the inconvenience associated with increased bowel movements.

Taking a treatment such as Dioralyte won’t provide relief from travel diarrhoea symptoms, but can help rehydrate your body more effectively. However, taking medications such as Buccastem can help you deal better with the nausea associated with this condition, which is one of the most uncomfortable travel diarrhoea symptoms.

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