Travelling Health

How To Avoid Traveller’s Diarrhoea

Let’s talk about poo.

It happens to us all.

It’s a fact of life.

A particularly stinky part of life.

Nevertheless, an essential part of life.

It’s not fun, it’s not clever, and when it gets extreme it can be rather inconvenient.

When travelling the last thing you want to be dealing with is a dicky tummy. And yet, it is probably one of the most common complaints, albeit a generally more discreet complaint (nobody wants to admit to being a poopy pants).

So in the spirit of sharing our best travel advice and top tips today I want to talk about poo.

Apologies in advance if this not your bag.

If, however, you travel a lot or planning to go abroad soon, please do read on.

I have been travelling off-and-on for over 12 years. In the past  7 years I have spent quite a bit of time in tropical regions in particular. During that time I have, unfortunately, suffered with traveller’s diarrhoea. It’s a rather unpleasant, painful and inconvenient occurrence. One I’d rather not experience again any time soon.

All that changed when I embarked on my community development expedition to the Dominican Republic in 2011. As the country shares a land mass with Haiti and in the wake of the devastating earthquake there was a cholera risk. As such, we were required to take the cholera vaccine, Dukoral, as a preventative measure.

This was the first time I had heard of the vaccine. And to my utter relief it was an oral vaccine. Hoorah! No pointy-pointy for this one. (Why can’t they all be oral? That would be much nicer).

During that expedition, for the first time in the tropics, I managed to avoid having any kind of upset tummy. I was a very happy indeed.

It appeared that the Dukoral did the trick. Not only was I protected from contracting cholera, but I also avoiding picking up any traveller’s diarrhoea.

And so, when this latest trip to Southeast Asia was booked we immediately got ourselves some Dukoral.

It’s an oral vaccine taken in two doses, two weeks apart. You should take at least a week before you leave and it should keep you protected for up to two years.

We have been really happy with the result. We didn’t have any side effects (of course, this differs from person to person) and have had no trouble with dicky tummies. Hoorah!

Of course, taking the cholera vaccine is not the only method for protecting against traveller’s diarrhoea. There are other precautions you should take when travelling.

How To Avoid Travellers Diarrhoea

How To Avoid Traveller’s Diarrhoea

1. Cholera Vaccine – Dukoral – as detailed above

2. Drink plenty of water – most people get a bad tummy simply from dehydration

3. Exercise reasonable caution when eating fresh fruit and vegetables – wash in bottled/sterilised water, or opt for cooked options.

4. Carry a bottle of antibacterial hand gel (like this one) in your bag to keep nasty germs at bay

5. Avoid drinking tap water and, if possible, clean your teeth with bottle water

All in all, I am pretty happy with our health on this trip. The only time I felt like my tummy might be cramping was when I was out and about in the heat and not drinking enough water.

Hope that helps! And let us know if you have any other tips for avoiding traveller’s diarrhoea.

Note: it should go without saying, but I am not a doctor or health specialist. I am speaking from my personal experience. As with all medical matters please speak to your GP first.  Stay safe!