Traveler’s diarrhea is no joke and can get in the way of enjoying your long-anticipated vacation. Bouts of traveler’s diarrhea can occur during visits to foreign countries as well as domestic trips and can happen whether you are staying in a fancy hotel or a backpacker’s hostel.
Traveler’s diarrhea is so common that we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions that cover all the information you need to help prevent, recognize, and recover from traveler’s diarrhea. Here are some of the most common questions about traveler’s diarrhea
What is Traveler’s Diarrhea?
Traveler’s diarrhea often occurs when you travel and consume food or water your body isn’t used to. Often, these foods or drinks are contaminated with a microorganism that your body doesn’t frequently encounter. Wanting to protect itself from this unfamiliar and potentially dangerous intruder, your body’s natural immune response is to flush it out – thus, diarrhea. So, while locals can eat and drink without fear of diarrhea, you should take precautions.
Like any other type of diarrhea, traveler’s diarrhea is defined as three or more loose, runny stools that occur within a 24-hour period.
How Do I Know If I Have Traveler’s Diarrhea?
Symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea can range from an upset stomach to painful diarrhea, and everything in between including bloating, gas, nausea or even fever. Cases can range from mild to severe, and while most will resolve on their own with some simple strategies to support your body, some will require a doctor’s visit.
How Long Does Traveler’s Diarrhea Last?
A typical case of traveler’s diarrhea will usually last for 2-3 days. If any case of traveler’s diarrhea persists longer than three days or is accompanied by a high fever, black, tarry or bloody stools and/or signs of dehydration, seek medical attention.
Is Traveler’s Diarrhea Contagious?
You might be surprised to learn that yes, traveler’s diarrhea can be contagious. While most cases are obtained by ingesting contaminated food or beverage, many microorganisms can survive on surfaces such as hands, water bottles, door knobs, etc., and can be passed on to other people.
What Should I Eat When I Have Traveler’s Diarrhea?
Like any other type of diarrhea, be sure to stick to simple-to-digest foods that are nourishing to the body. Avoid inflammatory foods that can worsen your symptoms.
Foods such as bone or vegetable broths, bananas, soups, and stews are safe bets, along with plenty of hydration. Hydrate with pure water, and replenish electrolytes with natural coconut water (no added sugar), or a DIY electrolyte drink. Foods to avoid include sugar and foods high in fat, along with fruit juices.
How Can I Relieve Traveler’s Diarrhea?
For occasional traveler’s diarrhea, turn to DiaResQ. DiaResQ is a food for special dietary use that effectively reaches your digestive tract and provides colostrum, important nutrients, and immune factors that help promote a healthy gut ecosystem and relieve your traveler’s diarrhea. It is an easy-to-pack powder that can fit into your suitcase or backpack.
How Can I Prevent Traveler’s Diarrhea?
Sometimes traveler’s diarrhea is unavoidable, but there are some practices to help prevent it.
Choose your foods carefully (avoiding street vendors and staying away from fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled), opt for cooked rather than raw foods, be sure you don’t ingest undercooked meats or seafood, drink bottled water, and wash your hands frequently. For more detailed information how to avoid traveler’s diarrhea, check out our article here.
By following these tips, you can make the most of your travels by doing your best to stay healthy. Take proper precautions, know the warning signs and pack your DiaResQ just in case.