Diarrhoea is one of the most common symptoms experienced during travel. Travellers’ diarrhoea is defined as passing 3 or more loose/watery bowel motions in 24 hours. It may be accompanied by any of the following symptoms; fever, tummy cramps, urgent to pass bowel motion, nausea or vomiting.
Travellers’ diarrhoea can be caused by many different organisms including bacteria, parasites and viruses. All these organisms are spread through eating/drinking contaminated food/water or contact between mouth and contaminated hands, cups, plates etc. Loose bowel movements can also result from a change in diet including, for example, spicy or oily foods.
No licensed vaccines are available in the UK against travellers’ diarrhoea. Symptoms usually clear without treatment. However, if you experience severe symptoms while travelling, you need to see a doctor. Travellers who are planning to visit high risk regions for travellers’ diarrhoea, and who will be unable to access medical help during their trip, may be advised to take mediation with them in order to be able to treat the condition if they catch it.