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Travellers' Diarrhoea

Symptoms, prevention tips and treatment options for travellers diarrhoea

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Dr Hilary Jones discusses travellers' diarrhoea and the treatments available at HealthExpress
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Travellers' diarrhoea is a very common illness that will affect between 20-60% of travellers around the world. The causes are mainly bacterial and most people get it because they drink contaminated water. In most cases the illness will not last for more than 5 days, but the symptoms – such as a high frequency of unformed bowel movements, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever and bloating – can be unpleasant and will likely lead to dehydration.

HealthExpress offers a Diarrhoea Pack that contains treatments to help shorten the amount of time you are ill, reduce the risk of dehydration and help provide almost immediate relief from the discomfort associated with diarrhoea. We provide free next-day delivery on all our treatments, so you can be sure your travel medication will arrive before you travel.

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Available treatment

Diarrhoea Pack   Bayer

  • Antibiotics, rehydration aids and symptom relievers
  • No doctor appointment required
  • Prescription included
  • Free same day and next day delivery

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What is travellers' diarrhoea?

Travellers' diarrhoea is mostly experienced by travellers during the first couple of days of arriving in a foreign destination, but can still occur after you've returned from holiday. It's characterised by a passing of watery stools more than three times a day for a period ranging from three to five days.

Poor hygienic conditions are one of the main causes of this condition, and travellers who aren't hardened to the bacteria in their new environment tend to develop symptoms as a result. Most people develop the condition when faecal bacteria are passed to the mouth through contaminated water or through food.

More than 80% of cases occur as a result of bacteria, while the rest are either due to a virus or a parasite. The Escherichia coli (e-coli) bacteria is the cause of illness in roughly 4 out of 10 cases, and is mostly found in undercooked beef or unpasteurised milk and faecal matter.

What are the symptoms?

90% of travellers who get travellers' diarrhoea tend to get it within the first two weeks of being on holiday. The symptoms normally include three or more loose stools within 24 hours, abdominal pain, cramps, fever, depression, bloating, nausea and/or vomiting.

Although these symptoms are very uncomfortable, most people tend to feel better after two or three days. In most cases, where it's been caused by something other than bacteria, it could last for up to a month or more, however this is extremely rare. What makes travellers' diarrhoea so dangerous is the fact that it can cause dehydration and loss of natural salts and minerals, especially in countries where it's hot or humid.

In what parts of the world am I most at risk?

The potential risk of developing travellers' diarrhoea is higher in some countries than others. This could be due to poor hygiene conditions in the particular country or poor sewerage services. Areas where you are at the highest risk of catching travellers' diarrhoea are:

  • Asia
  • Middle East
  • Africa
  • Mexico
  • Central and South America

Although the threat isn't as pronounced, there is also a slight risk if you are travelling to Eastern Europe, Russia, Southern Africa and some parts of the Caribbean.

How can I prevent travellers' diarrhoea?

There are no vaccines for this condition; however there are various precautions you can take before and during your holiday to help you avoid becoming infected. Before you leave, you can speak to your doctor or pharmacist about taking pro-biotic supplements. These supplements help to ensure that your intestinal flora is better able to handle the changes in bacteria associated with eating foreign food. You can also use a preventative anti-biotic before you travel.

When travelling to a high risk destination, make sure that you don't drink any water if you are unsure of how clean it is. This is also applicable to ice-cubes or the water you use for cleaning your teeth. This doesn't mean that you should avoid drinking water altogether, but just make sure that you purchase water when you can clearly see it's sealed. Fizzy drinks, coffee, tea, beer and wine usually tend to be safe to drink.

It's important to keep away from food that isn't cooked or has been exposed to flies; this includes vegetables if you're unsure about its origin. Seafood should be avoided, even when well cooked, or get advice locally about where it is safest to eat. Always wash your hands before eating and after you've been to the toilet.

What treatments are there?

Hydration - Although not a treatment for diarrhoea, drinking loads of water and using products to supplement your body with electrolytes can help you avoid becoming dehydrated during your illness. Electrolytes as well as water are both important to help rehydrate your body and you should preferably try and get enough of both during and after your illness.

Anti-biotics - In cases where the causes of diarrhoea are bacterial, a short course of anti-biotics can be very helpful at speeding up recovery time. Anti-biotic treatments kill bacteria, which reduces the amount of time it has an effect on your health.

Symptomatic relief - Treatments such as Imodium or Pepto-Bismol can help with loose bowel movements and can increase the amount of time your body has to absorb water. Medications such as Buccastem can help with symptoms like nausea.

Finding treatment

Being ill is the last thing you want on your holiday. This is why HealthExpress offer the convenient Diarrhoea Travel Pack, so that you can be prepared. The pack contains an anti-biotic treatment (Ciproxin), oral hydration aids (Dioralyte) and Imodium and Buccastem to provide symptomatic relief in cases where you are significantly uncomfortable.

How can I buy these treatments online?

You can order your Diarrhoea Pack safely and securely online from HealthExpress. Before you order, we ask that you complete a free and completely confidential consultation form to make sure that you can use the treatments in the travel pack safely should you need it. If you are approved to order your medications, you will be notified and once you've placed your order our doctor will provide a prescription for the treatments in the pack. Your order will be dispatched directly from our pharmacy with free next-day delivery.

Dr Hilary Jones, HealthExpress Medical Advisor

Travellers' diarrhoea

Travellers' diarrhoea is extremely common, but you can limit the risk of travel discomfort and dehydration with the combination of treatments in the Travellers' Diarrhoea Pack. This treatment pack contains Antibiotics, rehydration aids and symptom relievers, which are necessary to shorten the length of the illness, reduce the risk of dehydration and provide immediate relief from any discomfort. The Travellers' Diarrhoea Pack is approved by UK registered doctors and is clinically proven to treat travellers' diarrhoea. This treatment can be obtained quickly and securely online by completing our discreet and simple online consultation.

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How our service works
You will be asked a few brief questions about your condition, which will help our doctor recommend the correct treatment for you. 1
Within minutes our team of doctors will review your details. They will let you know via email or SMS what treatment is suitable for you. 2
After receiving reply from our doctors you can purchase your treatment. If you live in London, you may qualify for free same day delivery. 3
Quick Delivery
We offer free next day delivery as standard on all orders, wherever you are in the UK. If you have a London postcode, you may also qualify for free same day delivery, meaning we can deliver your treatment to you in as little as 2 hours
Discreet Packaging
We understand the importance of discretion, which is why we send all medications in plain, tamper-proof polyethylene courier bags. There will be no mention of HealthExpress on the outside of the bag.