Summer vacation is almost here and many are counting the days before their vacation. While most people are worried about what to pack and about the weather, there are other things to worry about in order to make sure it is a healthy and happy vacation. According to the CDC, traveler’s diarrhea (TD) is extremely common and each year 20-50% of international travelers, or an estimated 10 million develop diarrhea. Unfortunately if you have family visiting in Mexico or Latin America, you’re at a higher risk for TD.
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Many travelers can experience the symptoms during their vacation, depending on the length, or days after they return back home. Common symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, bloating, fever, and urgency to use the washroom. The primary cause of TD are infectious agents like bacterial enteropathogens that are the root of the cause for about 80% of the cases. In many cases these symptoms can last just a couple of days to up to a month.
There are some things that you can do to prevent TD, such as avoiding foods and beverages from street vendors, eating raw, undercooked meat or seafood, and even raw fruits. Especially in our Latin American countries, there is a lot of temptation to drink aguas frescas made out of fruit, but these can contain unfiltered water, which can cause you to get sick.
In most cases when you visit your doctor with these symptoms they will advice you to let it run it’s course and that it will pass on it’s own without any medication. In fact the CDC does not recommend the use of antibiotics to prevent TD because it can trigger other problems. One of the few things you can do is to keep hydrated and keep a bland diet by eating bananas, apples, toast, and limiting your sugar intake because that can trigger more stomach pain.
- Drinking probiotic products have special bacteria and yeast in them that help find the germs causing the diarrhea.
- Drink chamomile and mint tea, which are known to help soothe stomach pain.
- Drink black tea, it helps rehydrate you and the tea can help reduce instestinal inflammation.
- Grate a small piece of ginger and add one teaspoon of honey to get rid of craps and abdominal pain.
- Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water. Apple cider vinegar is an effective agent against bacteria that cause diarrhea.
- Eat bananas, ripe ones that have a high pectin content and electrolytes, which is a water-soluble fiber that helps reduce diarrhea.