Travelers' Diarrhea

Most often travelers' diarrhea is due to drinking water or eating foods that have bacteria which cause the illness. Drinking water (even bottled water), salads, sauces, dairy products, and undercooked meat are the most common sources of the problem. Bread, carbonated beverages (without ice)are generally safe. Avoid eating raw fruit unless you have peeled it yourself. Avoid eating foods or drinking beverages purchased from street vendors or other places where unhygienic conditions are present.

Most episodes of travelers' diarrhea are short and not serious. Bed rest, a clear liquid diet, and several days of medicines to control the diarrhea are often all that is needed. Antibiotics have been shown to shorten the illness if symptoms are severe, especially if there is a fever or blood in the stool. Some specialists recommend taking these medicines with you to treat diarrhea early. Call your doctor if your symptoms are not better in 2 days. Call right away if you have uncontrolled diarrhea, bleeding, fever, vomiting, increasing pain, fainting, or other serious symptoms.