I brought back many souvenirs from my recent trip to Mexico. One souvenir I could have done without, however, was a case of traveler’s diarrhea (TD).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TD is the most common illness affecting 20-50 percent of international travelers each year. Food or water contaminated with pathogens, such as bacteria, are the most common causes of TD. Common symptoms of TD include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and bloating. After suffering with TD for over a week, I schedule an appointment with my primary care doctor’s office.
“While most cases of traveler’s diarrhea will resolve in a few days without treatment, sometimes antibiotics are necessary,” explained LeAnn True, a physician assistant at Via Christi Clinic in Andover. “Dehydration from chronic diarrhea is the biggest concern, which is why it’s important to drink plenty of fluids.”
LeAnn continued, “Over-the-counter medications, such as Pepto-Bismol, may be an effective treatment for mild cases. In more severe cases that include fever or blood in the stool, or if the diarrhea lasts more than 72-hours, it’s important to see your primary care doctor.”
LeAnn prescribed me ciprofloxacin – a common antibiotic used to treat TD – and advised me to eat foods high in fiber, such as bananas, to add bulk to the stool.