About 20% to 50% of all international travelers experience diarrhea within the first week of travel. This is particularly the case for travelers visiting developing countries that lack the hygiene standards that developed countries have in place. Such places include but are not limited to South America, Africa, Middle East and Asia.

How to avoid it

Packaged food is a good method of preventing illness from food and water. Dukoral, a vaccination for cholera is a great way to protect frequent business travelers against diarrhea caused by enterotoxigenic E coli (ETEC). This is however not recommended for leisure travelers and is not necessarily internationally available.

What to do when you have it

Diarrhea often disappears without treatment within 1-2 days. It is important to keep hydrated, drink clear beverages e.g. water, soft drinks or weak tea. Avoid alcohol (as this will dehydrate you further), dairy and caffeine.

Sometimes intravenous re-hydration is required especially in more extreme cases of diarrhea / vomiting.

When to seek Medical Advice:

- If children are victim to the symptoms (children are very susceptible to dehydration)

- If symptoms last longer than 24-36 hours

- If symptoms diverse into fever, bloody stools or become lightheaded or dizzy.


Drugs to slow the diarrhea:

- Loperamide

- Immodium

- Diamode and many generics

Follow directions as per the instructions that come with the medicine.

‘General’ Antibiotics are good to travel with and can be used for such illnesses.