Avoiding diarrhea while traveling

Update:02 May 2007

DIARRHEA is the most common illness found among travelers. The World Health Organization believes that between 20 and 50 percent of the millions of people who travel each year for business or pleasure are affected by this ailment.

Diarrhea is usually triggered by poor sanitation and is contracted by eating or drinking contaminated food and water. It may be aggravated by fatigue, jet lag, and a change in diet or climate. It usually lasts three to seven days.

To lessen your chances of contracting diarrhea, be extremely careful about the food you eat and beverages you drink while traveling. Here are some specific tips:

* Drink only bottled water or water that has been boiled vigorously for several minutes. Allow it to cool before drinking and do not add ice cubes as they may be unsafe. Also, do not brush your teeth with untreated tap water if you think it might be contaminated.

* Brand-name, canned or bottled carbonated beverages, beer and wine are generally safe. Be careful to wipe the surface area of the can or bottle that touches your mouth, as it may have come in contact with tainted ice or water.

* If you cannot boil your water, purify it through chemical treatment. Chlorine tablets kill most bacteria, but not all. Iodine is more effective, but too much of it can be harmful. It is available at pharmacies in the form of tablets, tinctures and crystals.

* Food should also be handled with care. Raw meat, shellfish, salads, fresh fruit (unless you can remove the peel), uncooked vegetables and unpasteurized milk products may all be hazardous to your health.

* Infants under the age of six months should be breast fed or given powdered formula prepared with boiled water.

* If you do become ill, it is important to replace the fluids and salts your body has lost. If you can not find medicines, prepare your own solution by mixing six teaspoons of sugar and one teaspoon of salt with one liter of safe water. Drink this concoction after each stool until they return to normal.

Source:That's Guangzhou

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