Traveler’s diarrhea


Traveler’s diarrhea is a gastrointestinal infection that primarily affects travelers, causing loose stools and cramping in the stomach. Eating food that is contaminated or drinking contaminated water are the reasons for infection. 

Traveler’s diarrhea tends to strike more frequently when you’re abroad, especially in regions with distinct climates or varying hygiene standards. It’s usually distinguishable from other gastrointestinal infections that occur during or shortly after traveling.

Being cautious about your food and beverage choices while traveling can help reduce the risk of getting traveler’s diarrhea. In most cases, if you do contract it, it typically resolves on its own. However, it’s wise to carry prescribed medications suggested by your healthcare provider when visiting highrisk areas, ensuring you’re prepared in case your symptoms worsen or persist.

For the majority of people, traveler’s diarrhea is typically short and selflimiting, rarely lifethreatening.


Traveler’s diarrhea may occur at any time during the trip or soon after you get back home. Without medical intervention, the majority of patients recover fully in a week and get better in one to two days. On the other hand, traveler’s diarrhea may occur more than once while you’re away.

The following are the most common symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea

  • Fever.
  • Abdominal pain and cramps.
  • Having three or more episodes of loose, watery stools in a day.
  • An immediate urge and frequent bowel movements.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Moderate to severe dehydration, persistent vomiting, fever, bloody stools, and severe abdominal or rectal pain are occasionally experienced by persons. It’s time to consult your healthcare provider if any of these symptoms affect you or your child, or if the diarrhea persists for more than a few days.

Traveler’s diarrhea typically goes away on its own in a few days. If specific bacteria or parasites cause the problem, the symptoms could be more severe and stay longer. In such circumstances, you could require prescription medication to help in your recovery.

If you are traveling abroad, a local consulate or embassy might be able to assist you in locating an accredited healthcare provider who is fluent in your language.

Children should be handled with extra caution as traveler’s diarrhea can quickly lead to serious dehydration. If any of the following symptoms apply to your sick child, get in touch with the healthcare provider:

  • Having dry mouth or crying without tears.
  • Reduction in the amount of urine, as seen by an infant’s less wet diapers.
  • Indications such as excessive tiredness, drowsiness, or lack of response.
  • Fever of 102 F (39 C) or more.
  • Bloody stools
  • Severe diarrhea.
  • Persistent vomiting.


Traveler’s diarrhea might stem from dietary changes or the stresses of travel, but it’s usually caused by infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Contaminated water or food, carrying organisms from fecal matter, is typically the culprit behind its occurrence.

Locals in countries with elevated risk aren’t affected in the same way because their bodies have developed immunity to the bacteria as a result of regular exposure.

Risk factors

Millions of tourists from other countries get traveler’s diarrhea every year.

  • Highrisk place: Regions such as Central America, South America, Mexico, Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia are considered highrisk destinations for traveler’s diarrhea

Traveling to Eastern Europe, South Africa, Central and East Asia, the Middle East, and select Caribbean islands also carries some risk of traveler’s diarrhea

The condition is more likely to affect some groups of people than others. Among them are:

  • Age: Young adult traveler had a somewhat greater incidence of the condition. Although the exact reasons are unclear, it’s possible that young adults may not have gained immunity. They might also engage in more adventurous travel and dietary choices compared to older individuals, or they may be less cautious about avoiding contaminated foods.
  • Travel during certain seasons: In some places of the world, the risk of traveler’s diarrhea changes with the season. For instance, in South Asia, risk is greatest in the hot months before the monsoon season.
  • Medication: Those who use antacids or acid blockers are more at risk since stomach acid tends to kill organisms, less acid in the stomach could provide bacteria a better chance of surviving.
  • Weak immune systems: Infection risk is increased by a compromised immune system brought on by an underlying disease or immunosuppressant medications like corticosteroids.
  • Other medical condition: Individuals suffering from diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, or serious heart, liver, or renal disease. These medical conditions may make you more vulnerable to infection or increase the possibility of a more serious infection.