Traveler's Diarrhea
General Information

Up to half of all travelers spending two or more weeks in developing countries will experience Travelers' Diarrhea (TD). TD generally strikes during the first week of travel, but may occur at any time during a trip or even after returning home. Some travelers may experience TD more than one time in a single trip, but the condition is rarely life-threatening. Most cases will resolve on their own in three to four days, but if symptoms persist they may be a sign of a more serious infection.

• TD may be a simple matter of adjusting to a change in diet, but is usually caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. Even cooked food can cause TD if it has been handled improperly.

• Foods that pose a high risk of contamination include raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, and raw fruits and vegetables. Tap water, ice, and dairy products may also carry contaminants that can cause TD.

• Be sure to eat only meat that has been thoroughly cooked, and eat it while it is still hot. Avoid leftovers.

• Seafood may remain contaminated even after cooking. If you are in doubt about the safety or quality of seafood, don't eat it.

• Peel all fruit before eating it, and avoid raw vegetables (including salads).

• Beverages that are safe to drink include bottled soft drinks, beer, wine, hot coffee or tea, and purified water. Keep in mind that even brushing your teeth with contaminated water can cause TD.

TD Prevention and Treatment Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Information on Travelers' Diarrhea

Travelers Printable Checklist (PDF)

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