Diarrhea, which affects people traveling to the parts of the world with lower sanitary and hygienic standards, is one of the most common problems that tourists struggle with. Which makes it a good idea to learn what the risk factors are, in which Regions we are at the highest risk and how we can defend ourselves from ailments.
What is the Pharaoh’s Revenge?
Egyptian Tummy Bug, Pharaoh’s Revenge are different names for the same problem, which is Travelers’ diarrhea. Diarrhea when traveling is a group of symptoms caused by gastrointestinal infections that occur in people crossing international borders.
One can get infected through oral exposure, most often by ingesting polluted water, food or by eating with dirty hands. Which makes it the easiest to get ill in places with low sanitary and hygienic standards, especially in warmer climates.
Together with diarrhea, other accompanying symptoms may also occur, such as: stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, increased bowel movement or temperature. Those most prone to getting ill are children up to the age of 2 and young people aged 20 to 30. Listed among causes of the Travelers’ diarrhea are bacteria, parasites and viruses.
The contributing factors to the occurrence of traveler’s diarrhea might be sudden dietetic, climatic or environmental changes when traveling, stress and physical exhaustion.
What are the most likely places to get the Travelers’ diarrhea?
Clinical observation of the Disease that is the Travelers’ diarrhea allows us to list 4 geographical Regions where it’s most likely to get infected. These are South and Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the tropical areas of South America – which are increasingly popular destinations among those who, instead of an all inclusive vacation, prefer backpacking and discovering the real face of those Regions.
How to counteract the Travelers’ diarrhea?
In most cases, the Travelers’ diarrhea lasts for 3-4 days on average and is of self-limited nature, which means that the symptoms go away on their own. Still, if we do observe the symptoms in ourselves, we should take action.
Just like with every type of diarrhea, the most important element of a therapy is getting the body hydrated, because frequent bowel movements cause us to lose a lot of fluids.
When suffering from the Travelers’ diarrhea, there are no contraindications for the food consumed. We should remember, though, to adjust our diet adequately, choosing light meals that won’t irritate our digestive tract any further.
In case of getting the Travelers’ diarrhea, it’s a good idea to have drugs in our first aid kit that help inhibit the symptoms, although we should avoid drugs that cause constipation. We need to keep in mind that frequent bowel movements are the body’s way to defend itself from viruses and bacteria, which means we should help it expel them from the digestive tract.
The precautions – or what to keep in mind when traveling
Although we can never get 100% protected from a Disease, when it comes to the Travelers’ diarrhea, we can take certain measures to minimize the risk of falling ill.
When going on a trip, it’s a good idea to get protected in the event of getting diarrhea and pack adequate drugs in the first aid kit.
When on a trip, we should above all remember about good hygiene: wash our hands often, especially before meals and after going to the restroom. We don’t always have access to a bathroom, which makes it a good idea to get equipped with antibacterial liquids and wipes that can help in emergencies.
We should especially exercise caution when it comes to the water we drink – it should only be bottled water.
We should also exercise caution when choosing our meals. If we’re not sure about the quality of their preparation or the establishment’s compliance with sanitary standards, it is better to pass. We should avoid undercooked and raw meat as well as fish, raw seafood, cold dishes or products purchased from unreliable sources, such as street vendors for example.