How to Say It: Traveler’s die-ah-ree-ah
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Traveler's diarrhea is diarrhea in people who travel to other nations. It often happens in developing countries.
The main cause of this problem is ingesting food or water that is contaminated with:
This problem is more common in people who visit developing countries that lack safe water supplies and sanitation. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Problems may be:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is enough to make the diagnosis.
Most people get better on their own in 3 to 5 days without treatment. Symptoms can be managed with:
Drinking plenty of clear fluids or an oral hydration solution can help prevent dehydration. This will replace the fluids lost in the diarrhea. Foods should be slowly reintroduced.
Antibiotics may be given to reduce how long symptoms last. They are only helpful for treating infections caused by bacteria.
Antidiarrheal medicine may also be given. Examples are loperamide and bismuth subsalicylate.
To lower the risk of this health problem when traveling:
American Gastroenterological Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Be Food Safe—Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education
Acute diarrhea in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/acute-diarrhea-in-adults. Accessed September 16, 2021.
Acute diarrhea in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/acute-diarrhea-in-children. Accessed September 16, 2021.
Travelers' diarrhea. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/travelers-diarrhea. Accessed September 16, 2021.
Traveler's diarrhea. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/travelers-diarrhea. Accessed September 16, 2021.
Traveler’s diarrhea. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/gastroenteritis/traveler%E2%80%99s-diarrhea?redirectid=97. Accessed September 16, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary-Beth Seymour, RN
Last Updated: 9/16/2021