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Traveller's Diarrhea

You take one vacation a year- don't let a case of traveller's diarrhea ruin your trip!


When you get diarrhea in Canada, the culprit is usually a virus.

When travellers develop diarrhea abroad, the most common causes are bacteria, typically related to inadequate hygiene on the part of the food vendor/traveller.


Some bacteria that cause stomach upset in travellers include Salmonella (which causes typhoid fever), Shigella, E.coli, Campylobacter and Cholera (very uncommon).


Typical strategies I recommend to minimize risk include getting vaccinated prior to your trip and being cautious about where you eat. I encourage travellers to bring along a treatment course of antibiotics to take only if they develop significant symptoms.


If you become ill with traveller's diarrhea:

  • drink clean water (bottled or boiled) or oral rehydration solution to stay hydrated

  • treat fever with fever reducers, such as tylenol (1g every 6 hours) or advil (400mg every 8 hours)

  • If you are not improving after 48 hours or you become very weak or feverish despite medications recommended above, I would encourage you to seek urgent medical care at your location.


The CDC has developed a free app called “Can I eat this?” -referring to this may help you if there is any ambiguity about food safety at your destination.



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