Traveller's Diarrhoea will affect up to 60% of individuals when visiting foreign countries. Therefore it is essential to ensure you have the proper precautions if you are affected. Traveller's Diarrhoea most commonly occurs in tropical, semi-tropical or developing countries and is picked up through bacteria, viruses or parasites in food or water. It is commonly defined by 3 or more loose stools within 24 hours, with at least one symptom of cramp, fever or vomiting. More often than not, symptoms of Traveller's Diarrhoea will pass after 1 or 2 days, however, symptoms can last for up to 8 days. If you are still suffering symptoms after 8 days, you should consult a doctor or pharmacist.It is important to ensure you reduce risks of picking up bacteria viruses when travelling, this can be done by washing hands with soap before eating and drying hands with a clean towel. Try to avoid local drinking water and avoid salads that have been washed in local drinking water. There is medication available to help treat bouts of Traveller's Diarrhoea, such as Xifaxanata tablets which helps to kill bacteria in the intestine that causes symptoms. For more information regarding Traveller's Diarrhoea, and how you can avoid it, please visit our Traveller's Diarrhoea information page.
Apart from using antibiotics like Xifaxanta (Rifamixin) you should ensure that you stay properly hydrated using oral rehydration sachets to replenish lost salts and prevent dehydration. Dehydration is usually what causes something innocuous like diarrhoea to become more dangerous and sinister. Oral rehydration sachets should be used up to 5 times daily in place of "normal water" but if you are unlucky and do not have this available the flat coca-cola or flat 7-up often contain significant amounts of important electrolytes and sugar. Just make sure it isn't the sugar-free version.
You may be interested to know that a recent European Saftey alert has recommended that Ciprofloxacin should no longer be routinely used for the treatment or standby by treatment of Travellers Diarrhoea. Resistance to fluoroquinolone drugs like Ciprofloxacin has increased over the years reducing the effectiveness of the antibiotic, couple this with often unfavourable side effects, they no longer recommend Ciprofloxacin but recommend instead to use Azithromycin 500mg tablets ONCE daily for 1-3 days.
If you are suffering uncomplicated diarrhoea with only watery motions and for example, you desperately need to catch a bus, plane or another form of transport then you can use tablets containing loperamide 2mg to prevent bowel motions. Brands include Imodium. However, these should only be used as a last resort and never used if you experience blood in your stools as this indicates a more invasive infection. Using loperamide, an antimotility agent in this situation can cause complications.