Sunday, April 14, 2024

How To Treat Travelers Diarrhea

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What Antibiotic Should I Take For Travelers’ Diarrhea

Pepto Laboratory Presents: How to Treat Travelers Diarrhea

It depends. For adults, ciprofloxacin is used most commonly. Sometimes, for those traveling to certain places in Southeast Asia, where bacterial pathogens have increased resistance, some doctors like to prescribe azithromycin. In some cases where you feel that the traveler may likely be exposed to just the coliform pathogens such as E. coli, some prescribe rifaximin.

Of course, antibiotics work only for bacterial causes of travelers’ diarrhea. Know that even bacterial travelers’ diarrhea usually gets better without antibiotic treatment, although rehydration is always advised and symptoms may take 3 to 5 days or more to subside without treatment.

For those with diarrhea due to parasitic infections, there are agents that are specific for each type of infection. However, for Giardia infections, tinidazole is often prescribed and is very effective.

Need For Medical Assistance

Persons who develop bloody stools or severe symptoms such as intense cramps, fever and chills, or severe thirst that do not rapidly improve with self-treatment should seek medical attention. Illnesses unresponsive to self-treatment will require specific investigation for possible protozoal causes.

Immediate medical care is imperative if an infant or child shows signs of severe dehydration, bloody diarrhea, fever higher than 38.5°C , or persistent vomiting.

Is It Okay To Take Lomotil Lonox Or Imodium To Relieve Travelers’ Diarrhea

When we look at anti-diarrheal agents, the most important are those that stop symptoms immediately, such as Imodium and Lomotil. We prefer Imodium, because it does not make you feel drugged and sleepy, but does stop your symptoms. .

Remember that these agents do not cure the illness. They just stop you up and thus stop the cramping. These drugs are fine to take immediately, right after you feel that urge and pass that first loose stool. It will make you feel better faster.

Some people think that it is not a good idea to take agents such as these with diarrhea because it’s better to purge all the “bad stuff” that’s in you. But a number of studies show taking something like Imodium does not prolong illness. Now people with high fever or bloody stools or terrible abdominal symptoms should NOT take these drugs. They should seek medical attention.

For people with mild to moderate travelers’ diarrhea, there is nothing wrong with taking Imodium and a dose of antibiotic at the same time. For mild diarrhea, if you do not have an antibiotic or are just looking for temporary relief, it is fine to take these drugs without an antibiotic. But if you’re looking for a cure and want and need to move on with your travels, in general, it is good to take an antibiotic as well. One to three days of antibiotics will cure most cases of travelers’ diarrhea.

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The Ziplock Bag Airline Travel Friendly Health Arsenal

So how does this travel arsenal supposed to work?

-The activated charcoal soaks up toxins from any tainted meats, etc. Brands arent too important but the gold standard activated coconut carbon stuff is from the Upgraded Self website. You just pop a couple before you eat, or anytime you feel something funny coming on in your tummy, and you try to separate it from other supplements, since it does soak up the good stuff too.

-The oil of oregano is a portable, liquid antiseptic and antibacterial. Good for travel on planes, dumping into mouth prior to swimming in suspect waters, pouring over wounds, etc.. For preventive purposes, you simply put 5-10 drops straight into your mouth or into a glass of water a couple times a day and you take a 20-30 drop dose if you get exposed. Look for 70+% carvacrol content and a laboratory certificate of analysis because most of it out there is fake or simply thyme, not oregano oil.

So that’s it. Activated charcoal, oil of oregano, goldenseal/echinacea tincture, high-grade probiotics and iodine can all just go into a ziplock bag and in 99% of cases, your immune system will be bulletproof and your traveler’s diarrhea will becorked.

Prevention Of Traveler’s Diarrhea

Passport Health Store. Passport Health Travelers

Prevention of traveler’s diarrhea in persons traveling to high-risk areas is an important objective, considering the temporary disability produced. Although unproven, it is theoretically possible to reduce the occurrence of diarrhea by paying careful attention to the foods and beverages consumed. The most successful approach to disease prevention has been chemoprophylaxis .

Chemoprophylaxis for the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea.

Antibacterial drugs in chemoprophylaxis. After the early studies by Kean and colleagues cited above, a rebirth of the use of antimicrobial chemoprophylaxis occurred when Drs. Brad and David Sack organized studies involving US Peace Corps volunteers who received doxycycline on a daily basis to successfully prevent diarrhea during relocation to Kenya . The drug was found to be less effective in preventing diarrhea when it was evaluated in areas where antibacterial-resistant strains of diarrheogenic E. coli were present.

Probiotics in chemoprophylaxis. Living microbial cultures have been used in attempts to populate the gut and produce protective interference against ingested enteropathogens. The 2 leading candidate probiotics in travel medicine are Lactobacillus GG and Saccharomyces boulardii. Although safe for use in immunocompetent subjects, the probiotic preparations have provided minimal protection against the development of traveler’s diarrhea .

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Whats The Outlook For Travelers Diarrhea

Travelers diarrhea typically resolves within two to three days, but even mild cases can last up to seven days. It may resolve faster with treatment. Because symptoms may not start until several days after exposure, it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly what made you sick.

While recovering, be particularly careful to avoid any contaminated food or water sources. This will speed up healing and prevent continued or repeat exposure.

Symptoms Of Travelers Diarrhea

The following symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea can occur in any combination and with any degree of severity:

These symptoms begin 12 to 72 hours after ingesting contaminated food or water. Vomiting, headache, and muscle pain are particularly common in infections caused by norovirus. Rarely, diarrhea is bloody. Most cases are mild and disappear without treatment within 3 to 5 days.

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What Are The Symptoms

  • Symptoms depend on the bacteria, parasite or virus that has caused the illness.
  • In addition to diarrhea, they usually include fever, nausea, vomiting, bloating, abdominal cramping and an urgent need to use the bathroom.
  • Generally, the symptoms go away in a few days without treatment.
  • In more severe and rare cases, travellers’ diarrhea can lead to dehydration and death. This is a particular concern for children, the elderly and individuals with chronic diseases or weakened immune systems.
  • If you have blood in your stool, you should seek medical attention, even if your other symptoms are not very severe.

What Are The Possible Complications Of Travelers Diarrhea

Diarrhea While Traveling? Here’s What To Do | Penn Travel Medicine


The most common complication of persistent diarrhea is dehydration from loss of fluids. Mild to moderate dehydration can cause uncomfortable symptoms, but severe dehydration can be dangerous, especially for children. Children become more severely dehydrated more rapidly than adults, and they dont recover as easily. They may need to go to the hospital to have their fluids replaced intravenously.

Signs of dehydration may include:

  • Crying without tears.

Postinfectious conditions

Less commonly, healthcare providers have occasionally observed that travelers diarrhea can trigger an underlying gastrointestinal disease. In some people, symptoms of travelers diarrhea persist after the infection is gone. When no other cause can be found, they are diagnosed with post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome . In other cases, people who were already genetically predisposed to inflammatory bowel disease may develop their first symptoms after a bout of travelers diarrhea.

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How Can I Protect Myself From Traveler’s Diarrhea

In areas with poor sanitation, only the following beverages may be safe to drink: boiled water, hot beverages made with boiled water, canned or bottled carbonated beverages, beer, and wine. Avoid ice, as it may have been made from contaminated water.

It is safer to drink from an unopened can or bottle than from a container that is not known to be clean and dry. Water on the surface of a beverage can or bottle may also be contaminated. Therefore, the area of a can or bottle that will touch the mouth should be wiped clean and dried. Where water may be contaminated, you should not brush your teeth with tap water.

Intravenous Fluids With Electrolytes

It is important to give the body the proper amount of electrolytes, which are liquids that contain amounts of ions. Intravenous fluids are given to patients through a line known as an IV. This thin line is inserted using a tube and travels through one of the veins and into the patient’s bloodstream.

In the case of traveler’s diarrhea, these intravenous fluids can be used to rehydrate the body after being severely dehydrated for quite a few hours. These fluids can have water along with sugar, medications, and electrolytes. It is important to keep a healthy level of electrolytes in their body because they help balance the amount of water found in the body, balance pH levels, move nutrients into and waste out of cells, and makes sure the important organs in the body work the way they are supposed to. Taking intravenous fluids with electrolytes is a surefire way to make sure the body is equipped with the right amount of minerals.

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Principles Of Therapy For Traveler’s Diarrhea

In 1974, the US Food and Drug Administration announced to the pharmaceutical industry that nonprescription over-the-counter antidiarrheal compounds would need to be evaluated for efficacy, whereas the only previous requirement was that the medications be safe . Over the next decade, researchers in the center for the study of enteric infectious diseases at the University of TexasHouston conducted a series of studies examining the various symptomatic antidiarrheal compounds in our US student population in Mexico. A partial summary of the results is provided here.

The clays. Kaolin, pectin, and hydrated magnesium aluminum silicate were found to cause only minimal improvement in stool formation without producing other useful effects. Commercial use of these compounds in the United States has been largely abandoned, on the basis of their lack of efficacy. The popular antidiarrheal drug Kaopectate , formerly a combination of kaolin and pectin, is currently reformulated as BSS in the United States.

Treatment Of Travelers Diarrhea

How To Treat Travelers Diarrhea
  • Drugs that stop diarrhea

  • Sometimes antibiotics or antiparasitic drugs

When symptoms occur, treatment includes drinking plenty of fluids and taking drugs that stop diarrhea such as loperamide. These drugs are not given to children under 2 years of age, and their use is limited in children 2 to 18 years of age. Antidiarrheal drugs are also not given to people who have recently used antibiotics, who have bloody diarrhea, who have small amounts of blood in the stool that are too small to be seen, or who have diarrhea and fever. Antibiotics are not necessary for mild traveler’s diarrhea.

If diarrhea is more severe , antibiotics are usually recommended . Antibiotics are not given if a virus is the cause. Antiparasitic drugs are given if a parasite is identified in the stool.

Travelers are encouraged to seek medical care if they develop fever or blood in the stool.

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How Can You Help Prevent It

The best way to prevent traveler’s diarrhea is to avoid food or water that may be contaminated. A good rule of thumb for food safety is, “If it’s not boiled, well-cooked, or peeled, don’t eat it.” Raw seafood and milk products usually are high-risk foods for bacterial contamination. Dry foods, such as breads, or fruits that you can peel are safe to eat.

Avoid drinking local water where you are traveling. Beverages that are usually safe to drink include:

  • Tea and coffee if made with boiled water.
  • Carbonated bottled water or soda pop.
  • Bottled beer and wine.

Water also can be filtered or treated with iodine to make it safe to drink.

Also, be aware that contaminated water may be used to wash fruits and vegetables, clean utensils and plates, and make ice cubes. Brushing your teeth with untreated water also may increase your risk of infection.

Avoid eating food from street vendors where flies can transmit bacteria and poor hygiene practices are more likely to contaminate foods. If you purchase food at an outdoor market, make sure you boil it, cook it thoroughly, or peel it before you eat it.

Good hand-washing is important in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Washing with treated water or using alcohol wipes or antibacterial gels to disinfect your hands are good ways to reduce your risk of getting an infectious disease.

What Is The Best Medicine For Traveler’s Diarrhea

When healthcare providers do prescribe medication for travelers diarrhea, they prescribe two types.


Antidiarrheal medications treat your diarrhea, but not the infection itself. They can help relieve your discomfort, but they can also prolong the illness. They work by slowing down your motility the muscle contractions that move your bowels giving your intestines more time to absorb more water from your poop. But this also means that the infectious organisms stay in your bowels longer.

Commonly prescribed antidiarrheals include:


Your provider gives antibiotics to treat the infection in certain cases. Parasite infections may require antibiotics. More severe bacterial infections may also be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms are considered severe if you have a fever, if you have more than three loose stools a day or if you have blood or mucus in your stools. People with compromised immune systems may also be given antibiotics.

Commonly prescribed antibiotics include:

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Avoid Raw Fruits And Veggies

If youre in a place where water is an issue, fresh fruits and vegetables have to be chosen with care. If you are craving fruit, pick something you can peel so you remove the part that was washed with water. Fresh salads, while usually healthy, are filled with vegetables that get doused in local water. Consider this tip as a doctors note to pick a greasier option.

How Is Travelers’ Diarrhea Treated

Mayo Clinic Minute: Tips to avoid traveler’s diarrhea

Treatment for travelers’ diarrhea depends on the severity of the case. In moderate to severe casesand if you’re able to seek medical treatmentdoctors may prescribe antibiotics like azithromycin or fluoroquinolones, the CDC says. Antibiotic treatments, however, are not recommended for patients with mild travelers’ diarrheain those cases, antimotility agents like loperamide , may be used to help relieve diarrhea symptoms.

But for many with travelers’ diarrhea, you’ll just have to let it run its course and make yourself as comfortable as possible. That means staying hydrated to prevent dehydration, getting lots of rest, and eating smaller meals that are gentler on your stomach. The US National Library of Medicine also suggests eating salty foods , and foods high in potassium to help feel better.

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Is There A Natural Treatment For Travelers Diarrhea

Natural antibiotics like oil of oregano and extract of echinacea with goldenseal can kill many pathogens, possibly the one infecting you. Its difficult to tell how much they help with travelers diarrhea because the infection is usually brief anyway. These medicines may work best when used preventatively. But consult your healthcare provider first to make sure they’re safe for you.

What Are The Symptoms Of Travelers’ Diarrhea

Travelers’ diarrhea is technically a form of acute diarrheawhen stools become loose and watery, suddenlythat comes on while traveling. According to the CDC, there are different levels of travelers’ diarrhea , and they can include the following symptoms at varying severities:

  • Mild cramps
  • Bloody diarrhea

Depending on the exact cause of the travelers’ diarrhea, symptoms can come on within a few hours to as long as a few weeks. The CDC says bacterial travelers’ diarrhea can last up to seven days, while viral travelers’ diarrhea lasts for about three days.

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Chemoprophylaxis And Chemotherapy Trials

With knowledge of the causes of traveler’s diarrhea and of the sources of enteric infection in international travelers, pharmacologic approaches to the prevention of and therapy for the disease were developed. Because bacterial enteropathogens were the most important causes of disease, antibacterial drugs were most frequently used for chemoprophylaxis and chemotherapy.

How Can A Change In Diet Trigger Travelers’ Diarrhea

How To Treat Travelers Diarrhea

It’s due to eating different kinds of foods, such as much more spicy food or more fat than in our normal diets. That is not something we typically pay as much attention to avoiding when we travel, but we have to be wary of these things. Not every change in our bowel habits is due to infection. Infection is the most important cause of travelers’ diarrhea and most is caused by bacteria.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Travelers Diarrhea

Symptoms typically appear within six to 24 hours after a bacterial or viral infection. It may take one to three weeks for signs of an intestinal parasite infection to show up. This may explain travelers diarrhea that occurs a week or more after returning home. Symptoms are usually mild. You may have travelers diarrhea if you experience three or more loose stools within 24 hours. You may also experience:

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