To avoid unpleasant gastric ailments when traveling abroad, take special precautions regarding the basic rules of hygiene and nutrition:
- DO NOT drink tap water in exotic countries and anywhere you know or suspect it is not drinkable.
- Always wash your hands before eating and after a visit to a restroom.
- Take antibacterial hand gel with you and use it in case you have no access to running water and soap.
- Wash and peel fruit and vegetables – especially those bought at local markets in tropical countries. If there is no such possibility, soak them for 20 minutes in sanitized water (ask your pharmacist for water purification pills).
- Eat at popular restaurants – lots of clients means fresh and tasty food. Be careful with sea food, fruits, ice cream, cream cakes, etc. – if you suspect they may be out of date, look for another place where you can eat.
- Always check expiry dates of food products.
Unfortunately, diarrhea is a disorder that most tropical countries visitors must cope with, it can also occur in less exotic destinations. If you are forced to visit the restroom up to three times a day, you should be able to control the symptoms with popular nonprescription medicines, such as medicinal charcoal, Smecta or Stoperan. Be sure to have them in your first aid travel kit.
During the discomfort, eat only easily digestible foods: rusks, gruel, or overcooked white rice for example. Also avoid drinking fruit juice – they increase diarrhea. Try switching to herbal tea instead, e.g., chamomile or mint.
If problems increase, persist for a few days, or are accompanied by fever and severe stomachache, seek medical advice.