Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Traveler's Diarrhea

Font Size

Topic Overview


Can I prevent traveler's diarrhea?

The best way to prevent traveler's diarrhea is to avoid food or water that may be contaminated. A good rule of thumb for food safety is, "If it's not boiled, well-cooked, or peeled, don't eat it." Raw seafood and milk products usually are high-risk foods for bacterial contamination. Dry foods, such as breads, or fruits that you can peel are safe to eat.

Avoid drinking local water where you are traveling. Beverages that are usually safe to drink include:

  • Tea and coffee if made with boiled water.
  • Carbonated bottled water or soda pop.
  • Bottled beer and wine.

Water also can be filtered or treated with iodine to make it safe to drink.

Also, be aware that contaminated water may be used to wash fruits and vegetables, clean utensils and plates, and make ice cubes. Brushing your teeth with untreated water also may increase your risk of infection.

Avoid eating food from street vendors where flies can transmit bacteria and poor hygiene practices are more likely to contaminate foods. If you purchase food at an outdoor market, make sure you boil it, cook it thoroughly, or peel it before you eat it.

Good hand-washing is important in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Washing with treated water or using alcohol wipes or antibacterial gels to disinfect your hands are good ways to reduce your risk of getting an infectious disease.

Talk with your doctor about antibiotics you can carry with you on your trip and instructions on when to use them just in case you should develop diarrhea.

Other information sources

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains current information on infectious diseases around the world. Local health departments can access this information to help you determine what prevention measures-such as vaccines, antimalarial medicine, or supplies to treat water-are appropriate for the area of the world you are traveling to. The CDC also offers a Traveler's Health Hotline at (404) 332-4559. The CDC website ( also updates information for travelers.

Resources for medical care in a foreign country include embassies or consulates and major hotels. For English-speaking travelers, multinational corporations or credit card companies also may have referrals for local medical care in the foreign country.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Traveler's Diarrhea Topics

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
Remember your finger
Are You Getting More Forgetful?
fruit drinks
Eat these to think better.
No gym workout
Moves to help control blood sugar.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Close up of eye
12 reasons you're distracted.
birth control pills
Which kind is right for you?
embarrassed woman
Do you feel guilty after eating?
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
woman biting a big ice cube
Habits that wreck your teeth.
pacemaker next to xray
Treatment options.
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.