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Treating Traveler’s Diarrhea- Bugs and Bowels

Traveler’s diarrhea can be really miserable when people are far from home. Despite following food and water precautions, there is still a good chance of contracting it especially in low resource countries, and popular destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean. It doesn’t matter whether if your traveler is staying in a 5- star resort or a hostel. The water comes from the same source. 

In most cases, travelers' diarrhea clears up on its own within  a day or two. The majority of cases resolve within a week. 

There has been much debate about the best way to treat traveler’s diarrhea and to still be good stewards of antibiotic use. In the US, we rarely treat diarrhea with antibiotics because most diarrhea is viral in origin. In low resource countries, most diarrhea is bacterial, so there is a role for treatment with antibiotics.

What can you recommend for mild diarrhea?

According to the International Society of Travel Medicine’s evidence based ...

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10 Tips to Prevent Traveler's Diarrhea

Travelers diarrhea is one of most common travel-related illness, affecting about 10 million people who travel every year. The most common cause is bacteria from water contaminated with feces.

It's most common in low resource countries with the highest risk is in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.


Here are 10 ways to help prevent travelers’ diarrhea.


  1. Don’t trip the tap water. Drink only bottled water and beverages.
  2. Avoid ice that may be made with tap water. Don’t forget those drinks made with crushed ice, the one’s with the little umbrellas in them.
  3. Use bottled water to brush your teeth, not the tap water. If you contaminate the tooth brush by mistake, get a new one.
  4. Avoid fruit that may have been cleaned with tap water. Peel it yourself carefully avoiding contact with what’s on the outside with what’s on the inside.
  5. Vegetables should be thoroughly cooked. So that means no salads or lettuce and tomato on a...
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