Traveler’s Diarrhea (TD)


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  • Travelers’ diarrhea (TD) is the most common illness affecting travelers. The onset of TD usually occurs within the first week of travel but may occur at any time while traveling, or even after returning home. The most important determinant of risk is the traveler’s destination. High-risk destinations are the developing countries such as Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
  • Infectious agents are the primary cause of Travelers’ Diarrhea and commonly caused by eating food, ice or drinks that were contaminated with bacterial enteropathogens.
  • The most common causative agent isolated in countries surveyed has been enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC). Besides ETEC and other bacterial pathogens, a variety of viral and parasitic enteric pathogens also are potential causative agents.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Increased frequency and volume of stools
  • Loose or watery or bloody bowel movements
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Bloating
  • Fever
  • Urgency
  • Malaise

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  • Avoid eating foods or drinking beverages purchased from street vendors or establishments where unhygienic conditions are present
  • Avoid tap water, ice, unpasteurized milk and dairy products
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat and seafood
  • Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables unless they are peeled by yourself
  • Hygienic handling of food and drinks
  • Consume small amounts of fluid often
  • Drink only boiled, canned or bottled drinks without ice


  • In most cases, travelers’ diarrhea is benign and can be resolved in 1-2 days without treatment. TD is rarely life threatening; however, oral rehydration salt is often beneficial to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
  • Clear liquids are routinely recommended for adults. Travelers who develop three or more loose stools in an 8-hour period—especially if associated with nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever, or blood in stools—may benefit from antimicrobial therapy. Antibiotics usually are given for 3-5 days.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate also may be used as treatment: 1 fluid ounce or 2 262 mg tablets every 30 minutes for up to eight doses in a 24-hour period, which can be repeated on a second day.
  • If diarrhea persists despite therapy, travelers should be evaluated by a doctor and treated for possible parasitic infection.

Consult a pharmacist at Lovy Pharmacy when choosing a supplement for your condition.

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