What Is Traveler’s Diarrhea?


Most experienced travelers have had traveler’s diarrhea. In the case of a newbie traveler, this medical condition may be totally new. This article will answer the question of “What Is Traveler’s Diarrhea?” All travelers should seek medical attention immediately even if the illness seems mild.

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Definition and Causes

Traveler’s diarrhea is loose or watery bowel movement that is experienced within a few days of traveling to an unhygienic location. It is extremely common amongst travelers and is caused by exposure to parasites, bacteria, and viruses.

In most cases, Traveler’s diarrhea is caused by bacteria. Travelers usually get Traveler’s Diarrhea by eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Prevention Tips

Here are some steps to take to ensure proper hygiene practices to prevent Traveler’s Diarrhea.

  • Clean surfaces, equipment, and utensils properly before use.
  • Eat from establishments that are certified for proper food storage and handling.
  • Store food safely to prevent exposure to pest e.g rats
  • Wash fruits and vegetables properly before consumption.
  • Avoid eating raw foods-fruits, vegetables, and meats.
  • Avoid using condiments such as mustard etc that are left open on tables for public use.
  • Wash bottles, tins, and cans with soap.
  • In cases where you are unable to see proof that a food establishment is certified as sanitary by a public health body, examine the general surrounding and determine cleanliness.
  • Wash hands before and after using a bathroom.
  • Limit touching surfaces and wash hands after touching surfaces.
  • Wash hands properly with soap on all occasions.
  • Wash hands before and after eating.
  • Travel with antibacterial wipes if visiting areas with poor sanitation.
  • Identify and drink bottled water from established quality brands.
  • In the absence of bottled water, boil water for at least 4 minutes to sanitize.
  • Buy and consume drinks from bottles that are sealed.
  • Avoid placing or requesting ice to be placed in drinks.
  • Use straws when drinking from glass instead of placing your mouth directly on cups.
  • Be careful in deciding to buy street food.

Travel 101 – FAQs, Everything You Need To Know

Prevention at All-Inclusive Hotels

If staying at all-inclusive hotels, try to reach the buffet line as closest to opening hours as possible. This will limit the number of persons who would have interacted with food on the buffet before you. This is not a 100% prevention measure as there is always a risk.

It is good to read reviews of Hotels on websites such as Booking.com and Agoda.com, just to ensure that there is no negative feedback in relation to sickness through food consumption.

Traveler’s Diarrhea Symptoms

The symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramps or pains
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Feelings of Tiredness
  • Watery or soft bowel movements
  • Blood in stool
  • Bloating

How Long Does Traveler’s Diarrhea Last?

Traveler’s Diarrhea can affect travelers abruptly within a day or two after contamination. With proper medical treatment, symptoms usually do not exceed a week.

Is Traveler’s Diarrhea Contagious?

This condition is very contagious and can be passed from person to person. Maintaining proper hygiene during travel is very important.

Traveler’s Diarrhea Treatment

One can never be too careful when traveling. In cases where you feel ill with Traveler’s Diarrhea or something else, it is important that you seek help from a health care provider immediately, who will prescribe the best medication to address your illness.

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