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Traveler's diarrhea

What is it?

Traveler's diarrhea is also called Montezuma's Revenge or Turista. It is when your BMs are loose and watery. Traveler's diarrhea usually lasts 3 to 7 days.

Causes:

Food and liquids that you eat and drink in different countries may be infected with germs. These germs may cause traveler's diarrhea because your body is not used to the new germs. When you eat the infected food or liquid, the germs move to your bowel, causing diarrhea.

Signs and Symptoms:

You may have loose, watery BMs, abdominal (belly) cramping, or pain. Other signs may be nausea (upset stomach), vomiting (throwing up), or fever.

Wellness Recommendations:

Do not drink unclean (not purified) water or eat raw food when in another country. Do not use tap water to brush your teeth or wash foods. Do not use ice in drinks. Your caregiver may want you to take Pepto Bismol(R) or other medicine before, during, and after your trip.

Medical Care:

A sample of your BM may be tested. Caregivers will learn what germ is causing the diarrhea and if medicine is needed. You may need intravenous fluids if you are very dehydrated.

Dietary Measures:

Take clear liquids, such as defizzed ginger ale or cola, bottled or boiled water, hot tea, or broth during the first 24 hours or until the diarrhea stops. Eat a "BRAT" diet (bananas, apple sauce (not apples), rice and toast) for at least the next 24 hours. Do not eat dairy products or citrus fruits (oranges or lemons) until the diarrhea is gone.

Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.

HERBS

    Supplements:

      Other ways of treating your symptoms : Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.

      Talk to your caregiver if:

      • You would like medicine to treat diarrhea.
      • Your symptoms have not gone away or improved by these self-help measures.
      • You become dehydrated. You may have a dry mouth, feel thirsty, dizzy, or lightheaded. If you are dehydrated, you may pass little or no urine.
      • You have questions about what you have read in this document.

    SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

    • Diarrhea lasts for more than 7 days
    • You have shaking chills or a high temperature
    • You have blood, mucus, or worms in your BM.
    • You have pain in your abdomen (belly).
    • You are too weak to stand up.

    Care Agreement:

    You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

    References:

    1. Hilton E, Kolakowski P, Singer C et al: Efficacy of Lactobacillus GG as a diarrheal preventive in travelers. J Travel Med 1997; 4(1):41-43.

    2. Lee MC, Lin LH, Hung KL et al: Oral bacterial therapy promotes recovery from acute diarrhea in children. Acta Paediatr Taiwan 2001; 42(5):301-305.

    3. Rabbani GH, Butler T, Knight J et al: Randomized controlled trial of berberine sulfate therapy for diarrhea due to enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae. J Infect Dis 1987; 155(5):979-984.


    Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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