Traveler’s diarrhea is one of the most common diseases affecting international travelers. This is a digestive tract disorder that leads to abdominal cramps and loose stools, generally caused by eating or drinking contaminated food and water. While traveler’s diarrhea is incredibly unpleasant, it isn’t usually serious and goes away within a few days.
To minimize the risk of traveler’s diarrhea, you must be careful about what you eat and drink while on your trip. This is especially important if you’re traveling to Latin America, Africa, Asia, or the Middle East — regions associated with the highest risk of traveler’s diarrhea. At Travel Medicine Consultations, we can provide medications and advice to minimize the risk of diarrhea or treat it effectively when the first signs appear.
Symptoms of Traveler’s Diarrhea:
- Multiple incidents of loose stools in one day
- The urgent and incessant need to defecate
- Abdominal cramps
Traveler’s diarrhea may begin abruptly during your trip or even after you return home. The signs and symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea usually appear a day or two after exposure to the bacteria or virus, or days to weeks after exposure to a parasite. Diarrhea due to parasites can last for weeks to months without treatment, bacterial diarrhea usually lasts for 3 to 7 days, and viral diarrhea usually lasts for 2 to 3 days.
Signs of Severe Traveler’s Diarrhea:
- Persistent diarrhea for more than 2 days
- Signs of severe dehydration with diarrhea
- Severe abdominal or rectal pains
- Fever above 102° F
- Bloody or black stools
What Causes Traveler’s Diarrhea?
Traveler’s diarrhea usually happens when you eat or drink contaminated food or water with certain bacteria, viruses, or parasites. These infections usually occur after eating or drinking contaminated food or water. (Please see FOOD AND WATER PRECAUTIONS).
People who live in high-risk countries are not always affected by these organisms because their bodies may have developed some degree of immunity to harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Regions with the Highest Risk of Traveler’s Diarrhea:
- Latin America
- South Asia
- Southeast Asia
- Middle East
Traveler’s diarrhea is extremely common in the aforementioned regions, but it can also happen anywhere else. You may also develop traveler’s diarrhea at home if you eat from unclean restaurants or drink contaminated water.
Traveler’s Diarrhea Treatment in NYC
Traveler’s diarrhea usually resolves by itself within a few days. Sometimes, traveler’s diarrhea requires antidiarrheals and even antibiotics. Worsening or persistent symptoms despite these treatments requires that you seek medical assistance.
Travel Medicine Consultations can provide medications for traveler’s diarrhea based on where you’re heading and what medical conditions you have, if any. Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Julian Klapowitz before your trip for more information.