Travellers’ Diarrhoea Guide

Travellers’ diarrhoea is one of the most common illnesses associated with travel, especially travel to low-income regions which have less developed sanitation and water treatment facilities. There are also risks associated with food in these areas, where proper conditions or methods for dealing with food preparation and storage do not exist. It has numerous causes and prevention methods, which I will outline in this article along with some more general information. One such prevention method is the Travellers’ Diarrhoea Pack.

There are three main types of diarrhoea which you should be aware of:

  • Osmotic diarrhoea happens when water inside your body is drawn into the bowel. Commonly this is caused by a sugar substitute (having been ingested) not being absorbed and remaining within the bowel.
  • Exudative diarrhoea can be spotted by blood or pus within your stool. This blood or pus can be a symptom of disease or infection within the bowel.
  • Finally, there is secretory diarrhoea. This is caused by infections, drugs or other health conditions causing the body to secrete water into the bowel.

What is travellers’ diarrhoea?

The definition of diarrhoea is the passing of stools which are of a looser consistency and are more frequent (passing stools more than three times per day) than is usual for you. People often come down with diarrhoea while travelling to foreign countries or developing regions, it is a common illness and can affect people’s plans either while they are on holiday or on a business trip. If you are currently experiencing symptoms of diarrhoea and are concerned, speak to a doctor or pharmacist, or alternatively seek treatment to alleviate the symptoms. If you are going on a holiday or business trip in the near future, and are worried about how illness might affect your travels, consider purchasing the Travellers’ Diarrhoea Pack so that your symptoms can be alleviated should you fall ill.

How do I know if I have travellers’ diarrhoea?

The symptoms of travellers’ diarrhoea (as well as the more frequent passing of stools and an increase in their liquidity) can also include a fever (a temperature of 38ºC/100.4ºF or over), stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and blood in the stool. These symptoms will normally appear a week after your arrival in the area, and subside after three or four days, as most cases of diarrhoea are self-limiting. However, it is possible that the symptoms of travellers’ diarrhoea might persist beyond this three or four day period. In some cases the effects of travellers’ diarrhoea can continue for a week or (in very rare instances) over a month. If your symptoms last longer than a few weeks it is advisable to see a doctor as there is a possibility that you may have a more serious condition such as Crohn’s disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

What causes it?

Travellers’ diarrhoea has a large number of potential causes. It is mostly caused by infections from food, contact with another person who is suffering from diarrhoea or unsafe drinking water. Travellers should be wary of food which may not have been prepared hygienically, food which is stored or cooked improperly and water which hasn’t been adequately treated. It is important when you are travelling to ensure that any food you eat has been prepared in sanitary conditions and using fresh ingredients. It is helpful if you can see how your food is being prepared as some areas do not have strict guidelines to regulate the quality and cleanliness of establishments involved in food preparation. Infections resulting in diarrhoea can be caused by enteric (intestinal) bacteria such as E. coli or Salmonella. There are several different species of E. coli which can cause diarrhoea. Campylobacter is another enteric bacterium which causes high numbers of travellers’ diarrhoea in South and Southeast Asia. There are some types of virus which also cause travellers’ diarrhoea (norovirus and rotavirus), usually in areas where there is high density of tourists, for example cruises or resorts. It is the amount and variety of factors which can cause travellers’ diarrhoea which makes it difficult to prevent. However, the symptoms are easier to combat if you have purchased the Travellers’ Diarrhoea Pack prior to travelling. This will put you in control of the illness, with an anti-biotic to fight bacterial infection, hydration aids to avoid complications due to loss of fluids, as well as Imodium and Buccastem to give relief from your symptoms.

Cost of Diarrhoea Pack »