Traveler’s Disease: Treatment and Prevention

Traveler’s diarrhea (TD)

is one of the most rampant illness that affects travelers. It is characterized by unformed stools passed by a traveler in 24 hours. This is usually accompanied by bloating, nausea and abdominal cramps. Traveler’s diarrhea does not point to a specific microorganism, but enterotoxigenic Escherichia Coli is the most common. Read on to learn more about the causes and symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea.

Wilderness diarrhea (WD)

, which is also known as back-country diarrhea or wilderness-acquired diarrhea (WAD), is the name chosen by some camper, hikers, backpackers to refer traveler’s diarrhea that occurs in back-country or wilderness. This is due to the same microbial agents as all other traveler’s diarrhea, which are generally viral and bacterial agents. This ailment occurs due to a poor hygiene and absence of purified water and. Most cases of traveler’s diarrhea are self-limited. Also, the pathogen is mostly not identified.

Treatment of Traveler’s Diarrhea

Traveler’s diarrhea mostly resolves on its own without any specific treatment as it is a self-limited disease. Still,

oral re-hydration therapy

is highly beneficial as it replaces lost electrolytes and fluids. For adults, purified, disinfected water or other liquids are recommended. If nothing is available, then carbonated water (soda) without the carbonation fizz will do.

Travelers who pass three or more loose stools should be immediately treated by a doctor. These patients may benefit from antimicrobial therapy. Antibiotics are given for 3-5 days. Also, a single dose of levofloxacin or azithromycin have been effective. If symptoms like fever, abdominal cramps, vomiting and nausea persists, then they should be treated for parasitic infection. Different medications are prescribed for worms, for giardia, for amoebic dysentery and for bacterial dysentery.

Prevention of Traveler’s Diarrhea

This disease is usually a sanitation failure which leads to bacterial contamination of food and drinking water. There are some preventive measures which travelers should follow. These are:

  • Avoid eating raw vegetables and fruits.
  • Try to maintain a good hygiene. Use clean and safe water for drinking.
  • Drink safe beverages which includes hot coffee or tea, bottled carbonated beverages and boiled water.

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