Traveler’s diarrhea is diarrhea (loose, watery poop) you get while traveling in areas of the world where the water has germs in it because it isn't treated (purified) properly. In these areas, you can get sick when you drink water, eat uncooked food, or eat food that was washed or made using water.
Bacteria like Escherichia coli (E. coli) in the water are the usual cause of traveler's diarrhea. But viruses like norovirus (especially on cruise ships) and other bacteria, viruses, and parasites can also cause it.
You get traveler’s diarrhea from bacteria, parasites, or viruses that are in the water you drink or on the food you eat
Symptoms usually start 12 to 72 hours after having consumed infected food or water and last for 3 to 5 days
You’re more likely to get traveler’s diarrhea when visiting developing countries where the water isn't purified well
To prevent traveler’s diarrhea, drink only bottled drinks, use bottled water to brush your teeth, and don't use ice cubes or eat uncooked fruits and vegetables
Go to the hospital if you have a fever or bloody diarrhea.
Doctors will tell you to:
Children under 2 years old and adults with a fever or bloody diarrhea shouldn’t take medicine to stop diarrhea.
If you have 3 or more loose stools over 8 hours, doctors may give you an antibiotic.
If tests find a parasite in your stool, doctors will give you medicine to treat the parasite.
Eat and drink only in restaurants known to have safe food—foods that are cooked and served hot are usually safe
If you want to eat fruit, eat only fruit that you peel yourself
Drink only bottled drinks or boiled water
Don't eat food from street vendors, buffets, and fast food restaurants
Don't eat salads with uncooked vegetables or fruit or salsa left on the table in open containers
Ask for drinks with no ice cubes, or make sure that ice cubes are made with water that has been boiled
Use bottled water to brush your teeth instead of local tap water
If you have a weak immune system, your doctor may give you an antibiotic to prevent traveler’s diarrhea.
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