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Traveller's Diarrhoea

Traveller’s diarrhoea is one of the most common travel complaints.

Most cases will happen during the first week of travel and are quickly resolved without causing much disruption to your holiday or travel plans. When it comes with other symptoms such as fever or cramps, it is categorised as moderate or severe traveller’s diarrhoea. Symptoms tend to last for three to five days.

It can be caused by either a change in diet, but more commonly by bacteria or viruses that are spread through eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water or via contact with contaminated hands, crockery or other surfaces.

    • Passing three or more watering stools within 24 hours

    • Fever

    • Tummy cramps

    • Urgent need to use the bathroom

    • Nausea

    • Vomiting

  • Most cases of traveller’s diarrhoea are mild and so don’t require special treatment to resolve themselves. What is most important is to drink plenty of clear liquids such a fruit juice, water or oral rehydration solutions to avoid dehydration and aid a swift recovery. All rehydration solutions must be prepared using safe water.

    Unless the diarrhoea is moderate or severe or the individual suffers from an underlying health condition, it’s unlikely that antibiotics will be needed. There are also certain medicines which can help diarrhoea although these can take an hour or two to work and they aren’t suitable for children under 12.

    If the diarrhoea is accompanied by extra symptoms, you should seek medical attention. You may need intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and perhaps antibiotics.

Further resources

Learn more about traveller’s diarrhoea here.