Traveler's Diarrhea Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on October 19, 2019

1. Rehydrate

  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Children are especially prone to dehydration.
  • Drink bottled or boiled water, bottled or canned soft drinks, or clear broths for the first 24 hours.
  • Avoid caffeinated, sugary, and alcoholic drinks, which can worsen diarrhea.
  • If you have diarrhea more than 4 times a day, or are more at risk of dehydration (kids and seniors), use premixed oral rehydration solutions available at drug stores. They provide a balance of water and electrolytes (potassium and sodium) lost in your stools.

2. Resume Foods Carefully

  • If you do not feel like eating solid foods at first, you may start the BRAT diet -- bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast -- or salted soda crackers, boiled potatoes, and cereals after 24 hours.
  • Avoiding dairy products for the first 24 hours may help.
  • Slowly advance to regular foods.

3. Treat Symptoms

4. When to See a Healthcare Provider

  • If diarrhea is bloody, or if you have a fever or abdominal pain, see a healthcare provider immediately. Do not take over-the-counter drugs.
  • If diarrhea continues after several days despite home treatment, see your healthcare provider. They may prescribe an antibiotic. If diarrhea still persists, the healthcare provider may check your stool for bacteria or parasites.
  • Take a child to a doctor if symptoms include bloody diarrhea, dehydration, persistent vomiting, or fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • See a health care provider if nausea or vomiting is severe enough to prevent rehydration or if you feel woozy or have a rapid heartbeat.
WebMD Medical Reference



Columbia University Health Services Go Ask Alice: "Traveler's diarrhea: Preventing and treating runs on the road."

Tuft's Health Services: "Traveler's Diarrhea."

University of Washington Seattle: "Traveler's Diarrhea."

Yates, J. American Family Physician, June 1, 2005.

Traveler's Diarrhea Information from eMedicineHealth.

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