With the COVID-19 lockdowns coming to an end — no more work or school from home (unless you need or want to), and we would be very, very surprised if you haven’t already made travel plans to catch up with friends and family in faraway places this summer. However, before you hit the road, this is a good time to remind you not to let traveler’s diarrhea slow you down, especially if your plans take you long distances and out of the country, even on a cruise.
As exciting as traveling can be, getting there is stressful and can throw your circadian clock and sleep schedule for a loop when you jump into different time zones.
Then, throw in a Western-style diet full of fatty, sugary foods — something very easy to do when you’re away from your healthier routines at home — and you’re creating opportunities for traveler’s diarrhea to occur.
What Is Traveler’s Diarrhea?
Traveler’s diarrhea is a disorder in the digestive tract that causes abdominal cramping and loose stools, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Eating or drinking contaminated foods or liquids are the main causes of traveler’s diarrhea, the most predictable travel-related illness with estimated rates of “attack” as high as 70 percent, depending on when and where you travel, according to the CDC.
Typically, travelers come into contact with the most common bacterial pathogens (E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter jejuni) due to poor hygiene practices in local restaurants.
Traveler’s diarrhea usually occurs abruptly, and can happen during or after your trip. What’s more, you may experience it multiple times.
Although it isn’t considered serious in many cases, recent research from The Rockefeller University showed how some people can develop irritable bowel syndrome due to an unfortunate encounter with traveler’s diarrhea.
How Do You Prevent Traveler’s Diarrhea?
If you and your family are heading out on the road any time this summer, here’s some easy steps you can take to reduce your risk for traveler’s diarrhea.
- Know where your water comes from, and avoid drinking unsterilized water. Bottled water is your best friend while traveling.
- Wash your hands with plain soap and water early and often, especially before eating.
- Don’t ask your doctor to prescribe an antibiotic specifically to prevent traveler’s diarrhea, as it can contribute greatly to your risks of antibiotic resistance.
- A recently updated meta-analysis of studies published in Epidemiology and Health concluded taking a probiotic may significantly improve your odds of avoiding traveler’s diarrhea altogether.
In fact, among the beneficial bacteria cited in this analysis are two of the 10 building block strains from the Lactobacillus family contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.
More over, older studies have also found that taking a probiotic like EndoMune at least two days before leaving on your trip and during it can help you and yours avoid traveler’s diarrhea and enjoy that long deserved vacation you’ve been waiting for a very long time to enjoy!