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.
drinking local water where you are traveling. Beverages that are usually safe
to drink include:
- Tea and coffee if made with boiled
- Carbonated bottled water or soda pop.
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
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.
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.
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
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
(wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx) 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.