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Causes of Diarrhea: Traveler’s Diarrhea

Sometimes people experience diarrhea while traveling. There are ways you may be able to help relieve symptoms if you happen to contract traveler’s diarrhea.

What is Traveler’s Diarrhea?

Traveler’s Diarrhea is typically a type of infectious diarrhea that begins abruptly. It is caused by bacteria, and is more likely to occur in developing countries including Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia­ – considered higher-risk destinations.

Symptoms usually include:

  • Frequent diarrhea: Increased frequency, volume, and weight of stool
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Bloating and cramping

How to avoid catching or spreading it

Typically, Traveler’s Diarrhea is caused by consuming contaminated food or water. The most common contaminant is E. coli bacteria.

Tips to avoid it:

  • Drink only bottled water or beverages that include boiled water.
  • Only eat fruits you have peeled yourself.
  • Only eat foods that are well cooked and arrive hot.
  • Don't drink tap water or use ice cubes in high-risk areas (e.g., Latin America, Africa, South Asia).
  • Don't eat uncooked vegetables, including salads.
  • Avoid eating food from street vendors.
  • Don't eat undercooked or raw meats, fish, or shellfish.
  • Don't drink unpasteurized milk or other unpasteurized dairy products.

Avoid eating moist foods at room temperature, such as sauces and buffet items.

How to treat Traveler’s Diarrhea

  • Keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of clear fluids to prevent dehydration caused by diarrhea. Remember to drink only bottled beverages, as tap water may be the cause of your symptoms.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and dairy products. These types of things can actually worsen your condition.
  • Try an over-the-counter anti-diarrheal, like IMODIUM® LIQUI-GELS® or IMODIUM® Complete. Please refer to product labelling before use.

If your symptoms persist for more than two days or get worse, stop use and consult your healthcare professional.

Tips for managing diarrhea

When to treat diarrhea?

By treating diarrhea quickly, you can start to feel better again and get on with your day.