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Travellers' Diarrhoea

Symptoms, prevention tips and treatment options for travellers diarrhoea

Travellers' diarrhoea is an umbrella term used to describe stomach upsets in travellers. Usually occurring within the first few weeks of foreign travel, it is typically caused by certain parasites, bacteria and viruses in local food and water supplies. Most cases are not serious, but it can become life-threatening if left untreated.

Travellers' diarrhoea particularly affects those who travel from industrialised countries such as the UK to developing tropical and semi-tropical countries. An estimated 20-60% of travellers will be affected by travellers' diarrhoea.

The Travellers' Diarrhoea treatment pack is available at 121doc and contains a series of medicines that can lessen the symptoms of travellers' diarrhoea. Ordering this treatment from 121doc is easy, fast and efficient. If you order before 4pm, you can receive it the next day, or if you live in London, on the same working day.

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Travellers' Diarrhoea Pack

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  • Has a number of treatments that act as a comprehensive aid for recovery
  • Includes the treatments: Imodium, Buccastem, Ciproxin and Dioralyte
  • Provides instant relief from symptoms
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  • Free delivery next working day
  • Online prescription - No doctor visit

What is travellers' diarrhoea?

Travellers' diarrhoea is a stomach and intestinal infection that you may get when you travel, as a result of eating infected food or drinking infected water.

How can I prevent travellers' diarrhoea?

The most effective way to prevent travellers' diarrhoea is to take some basic precautions. Unless you have been advised otherwise, the following precautions are recommended:

  • Don't drink water from a tap or an open bottle, unless it has first been boiled.
  • Water from sealed bottles is usually safe, as are hot tea and coffee, beer and wine.
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Use bottled water for cleaning your teeth.
  • Take care with local dairy produce. Boil unpasteurised milk before use.
  • Cook meat thoroughly and eat while still hot. Avoid leftovers.
  • Take local advice on seafood. If in doubt, avoid it completely.
  • Avoid any raw vegetables and salads.
  • Peel all fruit, including tomatoes.
  • Wash all dishes and utensils in clean, hot water.
  • Wash your hands properly before eating or handling food
  • Avoid street food vendors, if possible. Take local advice on which vendors are cleanest.

What treatment or medication is available for travellers' diarrhoea?

Non-medicine treatments are rest, rehydration and small meals. Drinking plenty of clear fluids, such as water and diluted fruit juice, is crucial to prevent dehydration. Special oral rehydration medications are important as well, as they replace other minerals and salts. Avoid sugary drinks and caffeine, as they may exacerbate your symptoms. As soon as you feel able, you should start eating again. Regular small snacks will help your body regain strength.

For medications, 121doc sells the Travellers' Diarrhoea treatment pack, which has several treatments that can aid recovery, alleviate symptoms and prevent dehydration to ensure that you are able to recover quickly and enjoy the rest of your trip. The pack contains Imodium, Buccastem, Ciproxin and Dioralyte. Combined, these medicines fight bacteria and hasten recovery, rehydrate the body and maximise fluid absorption, delay loose bowel movements and prevent nausea. You can order your pack online today.

*The medical sources used for this article can be viewed on our legal page.

What causes travellers' diarrhoea?

Travellers' diarrhoea is caused by consuming contaminated food or water. Food prepared in unsanitary conditions or served raw or undercooked is susceptible to contamination by various organisms. These organisms include bacteria (e.g. e. coli and salmonella), parasites (e.g. giardia) and viruses (e.g. norovirus). E. coli is the most common of these, causing 60% to 80% of cases, while parasites cause roughly 10% and viruses roughly 5%. Any food can be contaminated but meat, tap water and unpasteurised dairy are more at risk than others.

A change in the type of food you eat – such as spicier or oilier food – can also cause some mild symptoms of travellers' diarrhoea.

What are the symptoms of travellers' diarrhoea?

Symptoms of travellers' diarrhoea can usually occur within a week, and last for 3 to 7 days. Typical symptoms include:

  • Loose bowel movements
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Painful gas

Travellers' diarrhoea is not a serious condition. Most cases resolve themselves and symptoms are managed with medication and hydration. However, notify your GP if any of the following symptoms appear:

  • Bloody diarrhoea that does not stop within a few days
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dry tongue
  • Light headedness
  • Sunken eyes
  • Muscle cramps

Can travellers' diarrhoea become serious?

Travellers' diarrhoea can become serious if it causes dehydration, which is then left untreated. Dehydration can be life-threatening, especially if diarrhoea and vomiting last for more than a week. You should see your GP if this is the case, and make sure to combat dehydration with rehydrating fluids designed for diarrhoea, as they will contain both water and necessary minerals.

Children, especially infants, are at the greatest risk for dehydration. Immediate medical attention is required if the following symptoms are seen in any children or infants:

  • Bloody diarrhoea that does not stop within a few days
  • Persistent vomiting that does not stop within a few days
  • Dry mouth, eyes or skin
  • Irritability or confusion
  • Sunken eyes
  • Fever
  • Pale skin
  • Infrequent urination
  • Cold hands or feet
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