Did you know that contaminated water isn’t the only cause of the dreaded travellers’ diarrhea? Raw fruits and vegetables, undercooked meat or even a contaminated glass can have you spending your dream vacation in the bathroom.
No food group can be considered ‘safe’ when it comes to the harmful Enterotoxigenic E. Coli (ETEC) bacteria responsible for travellers’ diarrhea. Over one half of travellers who visit a high-risk destination, such as Mexico, the Caribbean and Africa, will be affected by travellers’ diarrhea.
Characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms that include fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea, travellers’ diarrhea leaves up to 1 in 5 travellers bed-ridden for an entire day with symptoms that can last up to 7 days.
Preventing Travel Tummy from Ruining Your Vacation
Follow the Fruit and Veg Rule – Either cook it, boil it, peel it or leave it! Just because it looks fresh and safe doesn’t mean it hasn’t become contaminated by food handlers or the environment prior to being consumed.
Drink from a Bottle Only – Only drink beverages that come in a sealed bottle. Drinking bottled water is a recommended way to reduce the risk of ETEC, but always remember to check that the factory seal is intact.
Practice Safe Food Handling – Always wash your hands prior to preparing or consuming foods. If you are eating on-the-go, bring a travel hand sanitizer with you. Avoid consuming food that has sitting out or hasn’t been thoroughly cooked.
Avoid High-Risk Foods – Skip the salad bars, sushi, dairy products, buffets and ice cubes altogether, and use caution with street foods. A good rule of thumb is if it is made-to-order and served hot, it’s probably safe.
Come Prepared With a Cure – Pack anti-diarrhea medication and electrolytes just in case. Even better, take Dukoral before you leave to protect yourself against travellers’ diarrhea and/or cholera.
Don’t Ignore Symptoms – Seek medical treatment as soon as you notice any of the symptoms of travellers’ diarrhea, especially if they include a high fever or blood in your stool.
Dukoral, the oral vaccine that protects against traveler’s diarrhea, is currently running a travel contest for a chance to win a $1,000 Air Canada gift card or a Go Pro camera. Enter the contest and join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #DukoralContest!