Travelers’ diarrhea can be more serious than you think by Chaisai Sirisapaya, R.Ph.
Travelers’ diarrhea is a gastrointestinal infection that is the most common illness affecting travelers. Each year between 20%-50% of international travelers, an estimated 10 million persons, have bad experiences with diarrhea.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of travelers’ diarrhea vary. Generally diarrhea occurs within the fi rst weeek of travel and last up to 3-4 days. Affected individuals on average pass up to 5 loose or watery bowel movement per day which may be associated withcramps. On occasion, individuals may experience fever or bloody stools. The diarrhea may be accompanied by abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, or increase in stomach or vomiting.
Why does it happen?
This symptoms occurs as a result of unsanitary handling of food. Food handlers who do not wash their hands after they use the bathroom can transmit the infection to people who consume the contaminated food. The most common bacterium that causes travelers’ diarrhea is enterotoxigenic E. coli, V. parahaemolyticus and Clostridium botulinum
How to treat diarrhea
When treating afflicted individuals, drugs that alleviate symptoms as well as antibiotics play a role. With moderate symptoms, the addition of Bismuth subsalicylate alone may suffice. Alternatively, anti-diarrheal agents such as loperamide (Imodium) can be given. With severe disease, characterized by frequent diarrhea or dehydration, or complicated by the passage of bloody stools, Imodium should not be used and you should consult your pharmacist. As with all diseases, it is best to consult a pharmacist rather than attempting to self-medicate for traveler’s diaarhea. This is especially relevant for pregnant woman and children.
How to prevent diarrhea?
Food is the major source of infection, Food sould be well-cooked and served warm. Raw befetables, uncooked meat or seafood and other foods maintained at room temperature should be avoided. Dairy products, tap water and ice (including frozen drinks not made from fi ltered water) are also high-risk foods. Carbonated beverages, beer and wine, hot coffee and tea, fruits that can be peeled, and canned products generally are safe. Although prophylactic antibiotics (antibiotics taken before the person is exposed to the pathogen) are effective in preventing travelers’ diarrhea, they generally are not recommended. In some situations drugs of quinolone class (levofl oxacin,ciprofl oxacin) or Bismuth subsalicylate have been shown to be effective.
Teaspoon Pharmacy Thai Travel Pharmacy
- Counseling health service for tourists
- Counseling to prevent acute diarrhea and malaria
- Provide information on the epidemiology of the disease in each area and emerging diseases
- Tracking drug use in each patient effectively
- Personal pharmacist
- Pharmacy delivery services
- Pharmacy on-call 24hrs.