The most common cause of people getting traveler’s diarrhea is enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) bacteria from food and water supplies of a foreign country.
This problem is most common in developing countries. People in these countries drink their tap water without consequences, but someone who’s not used to it may get sick.
The bacteria that cause traveler’s diarrhea attach themselves to the lining of a person’s intestine and release a toxin that causes watery stool and abdominal cramps.
If left untreated, traveler’s diarrhea will usually go away on its own in four to five days, but it can leave you worn down and dehydrated. Treatment with antibiotics and loperamide can cure a traveler’s diarrhea within the first 24 hours.
All types of diarrhea are highly contagious. They are commonly spread from one person to another via dirty hands.
A person is contagious as long as they have diarrhea, sometimes even for days after it has passed, as bacteria and viruses that cause it may stay in the colon for days.
If you get traveler’s diarrhea, drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration. Oral rehydration solutions are available in almost every pharmacy across the world.
To prevent traveler’s diarrhea, avoid drinking tap water from foreign water supplies, avoid buying food on the streets, and avoid carrying any food item that can easily spoil. Don’t consume unwashed fruit or vegetables. Wash your hands whenever possible.