Social Icons


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Traveler's Diarrhea

What causes traveler's diarrhea?

People get traveler's diarrhea by eating food and drinking water that contain germs. People can get this illness in areas of the world where the drinking water is not clean.

People who live these areas often drink tap water that contains these germs, but they do not get diarrhea. This is because their bodies are used to the germs. In the same way, cooks and food handlers may have the germs that cause traveler's diarrhea on their hands, but they may not get sick themselves. When people travel to a new place, they are more likely to become sick, because they lack protective antibodies (infection-fighting agents in the blood) that attack these germs.

How can I avoid traveler's diarrhea?

When you will be traveling to an area where the water may not be clean, see your doctor 4 to 6 weeks before your trip. Your doctor may want to give you some medicines, such as antibiotics or shots, to protect you from illness while you are away. During your trip, be careful about the following things:

* Do not drink tap water and do not use it to brush your teeth.
* Do not drink bottled water if the seal on the bottle has been broken.
* Do not use ice unless you're sure it's made from purified water.
* Do not drink milk or eat dairy products that have not been pasteurized (heated to a temperature that kills all germs).
* Do not eat raw fruits or vegetables unless they can be peeled and you are the one who peels them.
* Do not eat cut-up fruit salad.
* Do not eat lettuce or other leafy raw vegetables (such as spinach).
* Do not eat raw or rare (slightly cooked) meat or fish.
* Do not eat food from people who sell it on the street.

Boiling water will kill the germs that cause diarrhea, making the water safe to drink. Boil water vigorously for 1 minute and allow it to cool to room temperature (do not add ice). When traveling in high altitudes (6,562 feet or higher), boil water for 3 minutes.

No comments: