One of the most common conditions to affect traveler's itinerary is the traveler's diarrhea. It is a condition, which may often cause a much-awaited vacation to be spoiled. If statistics are to be believed, around 20 to 50% travelers develop this condition every year. Previously, it was believed, that change in water, indulgence in different varieties of food, being exposed to sun for an extended period of time, caused this condition. However, research over a period of time has proved that none of the above stated is the actual cause of this condition. It is a particular kind of bacteria, which is the root cause of the condition. This bacteria makes upper part of the intestine its home and produces toxins, which in turn causes watery stool. It is seen that the diarrhea may also be accompanied by cramping and low-grade fever. Other than the bacteria, viral and parasitic pathogens may also be responsible for this condition. Taking simple steps will help in preventing traveler's diarrhea, and a great vacation will not be spoiled.
Tips to Prevent Traveler's Diarrhea
The most common symptoms of traveler's diarrhea are nausea, fever, bloating, fatigue and, not to forget, the urgent need to visit the washroom. There are simple measures that one can adopt, which will help in preventing diarrhea and upset stomach, when one is traveling.
Eat Food at Right Temperature
One of the steps to avoid traveler's diarrhea is not to eat food at the wrong temperature. To explain this better, the food that has to be eaten hot should be eaten hot only, and the food that has to be eaten cold, should be eaten when cold only. If the food is not eaten at the right temperature chances are high that you may contract the bacteria. Also sauces at room temperature should not be eaten either, as they can be a storehouse of harmful microorganisms.
Avoid Food from Street Vendors
One of the most important step in avoiding traveler's diarrhea is to not eat in any place, which is not hygienic and clean. Food and/or beverages at street vendors often comes under this category. Since the place is not clean, the chances of the food been infested with microorganisms are very high, which in turn can cause traveler's diarrhea.
Avoid Uncooked Food
The most common cause of traveler's diarrhea is eating undercooked or raw food. Meat, shellfish, fish, or even vegetables should be properly cooked before one can have it. Similarly, it is best to stay away from leafy salads, unpeeled fruits or salad vegetables as they can also be contaminated, which in turn can result in stomach infections. It is best to stick to boiled, baked or peeled foods only.
Drinking unclean water is often the cause of traveler's diarrhea. Therefore, one has to make sure one sticks either to bottled water, or opts for boiled water. One will have to ensure that one stays away from cloudy water. If one must, then measures will have to be taken to get rid of the impurities in the water, like letting it sit for sometime, strain with fine muslin cloth, etc. If one is not able to lay hands on bottled water, then strained and boiled water is the best option, as boiling and straining will help in eliminating the impurities. At the same time, ice made from tap water should also not be eaten for the fear of it been infested with germs.
Avoid Unpasteurized Dairy Products
One can suffer from upset stomach, if one has to consume unpasteurized dairy products, when one is at home as well. The same is very true, if one is traveling, as unpasteurized dairy products may contain microorganisms, which may not agree with your system, therefore they should be kept out of the diet itself.
Wash Hands Before Eating
Although this is the last tip, it is one of the most important tip that one must follow when one is traveling. It may seem to us that our hands are clean, however, there are often a large quantity of germs residing on them. Therefore, before you eat your meals, make sure you wash your hands with soap. If that is not possible, then it is best to use a hand sanitizer.
It is important to take measures to prevent traveler's diarrhea, as it will not only ruin your trip, but it can give rise to serious medical condition as well. If at all you do suffer from one, it is important that you correct the imbalance caused due to lost electrolytes. In case the condition does not improve seek opinion of a physician.