Traveler’s diarrhea home treatment
DV can result from infection by a wide variety of intestinal pathogens. Bacteria are the main risk, accounting for an estimated 80% to 90% of infectious DV, while intestinal viruses account for only 5% to 8%. Parasitic DVs together account for approximately 10% of diagnoses and are generally more long-term.
The most important risk factor for DV is travel destination, with regional differences in both risk and cause of diarrhea. In this sense, the world can be divided into 3 degrees of risk: low, intermediate and high.
In relation to food, it is essential to follow a series of preventive measures, including eating well cooked and recently prepared food, avoiding eating salads and raw vegetables, and ensuring that fruits have their skin intact and are peeled by the consumer. It is also very important to value “where you eat” as much or more than what you eat, since the most important factor contributing to traveler’s diarrhea is the lack of hygiene in local restaurants.
My stomach is growling and I have diarrhea, what can I take?
Also known as tourist’s diarrhea, or acute diarrhea, this type of disorder occurs during the trip or shortly after the end of the trip and usually resolves in 3 or 4 days. The most frequent cause of acute diarrhea is infectious, which can be produced by bacteria living in food or water, and therefore acquired by food poisoning, although it can also be produced by viruses (this is called viral gastroenteritis, which is mild and disappears spontaneously in a few days) or by parasites.
In general, this infection is contracted by consuming food and/or water contaminated with microorganisms from animal or human feces. These organisms enter our digestive tract, destroy our defenses and cause the disease. For example, the most common bacterium is Escherichia coli, which adheres to the walls of the intestine and releases a toxin that causes diarrhea and abdominal pain.
While traveler’s diarrhea can affect you anywhere in the world, there is a higher risk in some countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, where water and food handling are unsafe.
When diarrhea is dangerous
Traveler’s diarrhea is a disorder of the digestive tract that causes loose stools and abdominal cramps. It is the most common health problem when traveling to countries with a different culture or climate from your home or with inferior hygienic-sanitary conditions. It is usually caused by bacteria endemic to the local water.
It is estimated that up to 40% of travelers suffer from traveler’s diarrhea during or shortly after returning from their trip. It is not a serious condition, as the body eventually becomes accustomed to the changes in the environment, most cases improve within one or two days without treatment and eventually disappear completely within a week. However, it can sometimes cause changes in the travel itinerary and result in the need to stay in bed for 2-3 days.
It is likely to be caused by travel stress or a change in diet, but the main cause of traveler’s diarrhea is infection by bacteria, viruses or parasites, the most common germ involved being enterotoxic Escherichia coli, which colonizes the intestine in 24-48 hours and is usually transmitted orally through the consumption of food or drink contaminated with the microorganisms or spoiled food.
Liquid diarrhea in adults
Traveler’s diarrhea is a mild infectious process, in most cases. It affects between 20 and 50 percent of people traveling to tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Rotaviruses or protozoa such as giardia lamblia may also be implicated. The most frequently implicated germ is enterotoxic Escherichia coli, which colonizes the intestine in 24-48 hours, adheres to the intestinal walls and produces the toxins responsible for the symptoms.
It is a process that generally lasts less than four days in the absence of treatment. If blood is present in the stool, it indicates that the germ causing the infection belongs to the enteroinvasive group and it is advisable for the patient to see a physician.
The best measure to prevent traveler’s diarrhea is to take care of eating habits during the period abroad. In fact, experts recommend paying special attention to foods containing raw or undercooked eggs (sauces and desserts and milk derivatives).