Traveler's diarrhea and things you have to know

When traveling, due to many changes in circumstances and living conditions, the body is subjected to many external influences, making the risk of diseases higher, including diarrhea. This condition is common in people who are traveling or have just returned from a long trip. Traveler's diarrhea is not usually serious, but it can make you feel extremely uncomfortable because you suffer from abdominal pain and constant loose stools.

What is the cause of this disease?

Traveler's diarrhea can stem from stress during travel or in the diet. It is common to get traveler's diarrhea after swallowing food or water contaminated with organisms from feces. These organisms are pathogens - including various bacteria, viruses and parasites - that enter the digestive tract and overpower defense mechanisms, leading to the signs and symptoms of traveler's diarrhea.

The bacteria attach to the intestinal lining and release a toxin that causes diarrhea and abdominal pain. The most common cause of traveler's diarrhea is the enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC). So why aren't indigenous people in high-risk countries so affected? Often their bodies get used to the bacteria and build up immunity to them.

Certain groups of people are at high risk for the disease, such as:

Young people: Although often there are many unclear reasons, it can be personal or subjective, taking many risks on the road, or being less cautious in avoiding contaminated foods, even may be due to poor immunity.

People with weakened immune systems: When the immune system is weakened, the reduction in the body's protective factors makes the condition worse and more likely to cause damage and infection (especially in people with diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease).

People taking calcium channel blockers or antacids: Acid in the stomach tends to destroy the organism. Therefore, reducing stomach acid may leave more room for bacteria to survive.

Methods of prevention and treatment

In order for your trips to be good and not to be disturbed by diarrhea, before you go, you need to prepare some drugs such as oresol, loperamide. Or you can consult your own doctor before going to prepare the necessary medicines to bring during the trip.

On the way to travel, be careful with food and drink on the street. Avoid uncooked foods, or drink water from the tap, spring water. Always remember 2 principles: Eat cooked, drink boiling, and wash your hands thoroughly before eating. Usually, this disease will tend to get better when we take good care of ourselves. In case the symptoms become severe, it is advisable to visit a medical facility so that the doctor can prescribe an appropriate prescription. 

Healthcare professionals generally do not recommend antibiotics for the prevention of traveler's diarrhea, as it can contribute to the development of drug-resistant bacteria. At the same time, the use of antibiotics can also cause unpleasant side effects such as rashes, skin reactions to the sun, vaginal yeast infections, and rarely, blood disorders.

Source: Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital, Health and Life Newspaper