Travel Clinic London

How To Avoid Traveller’s Diarrhoea

Traveller’s diarrhoea is described as being the passing of 3 or more loose or watery stools within a 24 hour period. It is often accompanied by:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • The need to go to the toilet urgently
  • Feelings of nausea and/or bouts of vomiting
  • May also include a fever.

Mild cases of traveller’s diarrhoea don’t have any other symptoms apart of loose/watery stools, and do not drastically alter the sufferer’s routine.

Moderate and severe cases of traveller’s diarrhoea are accompanied by one or more of the additional symptoms listed above, and will significantly interfere with the victim’s daily routine or travel agenda.

The vast majority of cases of traveller’s diarrhoea occur during the first week of travel, with symptoms typically lasting for between 3 and 5 days. Most cases resolve themselves without the need for medical intervention.

Potential causes of traveller’s diarrhoea

The potential causes of traveller’s diarrhoea include:

  • Bacteria such as E.coli, and Salmonella
  • Parasites such as Giardia
  • Viruses such as the Norovirus

All of the above causes of traveller’s diarrhoea are spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or liquids, or by direct contact with contaminated surfaces such as hands, cups, plates, drinking vessels when the victim then unwittingly touches his/her mouth with contaminated hands.

Traveller’s diarrhoea can also be caused from a change in diet.

Prevention of traveller’s diarrhoea

The best way of preventing being infected with traveller’s diarrhoea is by taking various practical precautions including:

  • Only drinking purified or bottled water
  • Washing your hands before eating
  • Only use hygienically cleaned cups, plates and utensils
  • Washing your hands after going to the toilet
  • Carrying and using alcohol rub and wipes when water is not available to clean your hands

Tablets for the prevention of traveller’s diarrhoea

Tablets for the prevention of traveller’s diarrhoea can be purchased from most High Street pharmacies, and if you live and/or work in London, from the in-house pharmacy at the travel clinic, Broadgate GP Clinic London Wall. However, it should be noted that these tablets are for use as a precaution, and should not prevent travellers from practicing good hygiene as described above.