Travelling? How to Keep Yourself Regular

Travelling? How to Keep Yourself Regular

Author -  Good Health

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What causes Travellers’ diarrhoea? 

It is possible that travellers’ diarrhoea occurs simply due to a change in diet, or increased stress from being in a new environment. However more likely than not it develops after the ingestion of contaminated food or water. The most common cause is the E. coli bacteria. These bacteria attached to the intestinal lining and release toxins which cause loose bowel motions and abdominal cramps. So why does it only happen to travellers? Locals are more often than not adapted to the environment, so they have developed an immunity.

Who is at risk? 

Travelling to a country with poor public sanitation or even poor hygiene in a restaurant can be risk factors. Countries within Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Middle East are common culprits and it is important to remember that many developed countries globally do not have drinkable tap water. So no matter where you are, it is best to be cautious. If you have a weakened immune system or have been sick, extra care is needed. People with diabetes, liver or bowel conditions should also be cautious. 

Common signs and symptoms

The main symptom is urgency, followed by loose stools. You may experience other symptoms including nausea, vomiting, bloating, abdominal cramps, lethargy, dehydration and fever. In most cases symptoms will last less than a week but be cautious once symptoms have passed; the body is unlikely to develop immunity, so you could have more than one episode during your journey. Travellers’ diarrhoea can be severe, especially in hot countries. Monitor any fever, keep fluids up, and look for signs of dehydration, such as urinating less. If signs and symptoms worsen, or last longer than a few days, it is best to see a doctor. 

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How to treat traveller’s diarrhoea, naturally

Often the treatment is fluid replacement, however it is important to remember that we can cause the body more harm if we only replace the water loss and not salt, sugar and minerals too. It is best to drink flat soda and clear broth and remember to pack a sachet of electrolytes powder just in case. If you have access, coconut water is perfect for rehydration, as it is naturally high in electrolytes and contains lauric acid, a natural anti-microbial. Activated charcoal is highly absorptive and can absorb microbial toxins. Activated charcoal should be taken on an empty stomach and away from other medicine, however it should be taken directly after consuming anything possibly harmful. Chamomile tea is effective for reducing abdominal pain, cramping and vomiting and diarrhoea, whilst immune enhancing herbs such as echinacea can aid recovery. Taking probiotics daily can also help in your recovery time.

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No matter how vigilant you are, you may still encounter travellers’ diarrhoea. And although it may not be avoided completely, awareness is key. Make sure you drink bottled water wherever you go, but most of all, enjoy the new and exciting experiences in foreign lands.

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